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Thursday, December 31, 1998 Published at 03:01 GMT

Major leads honours list for peace

To search for a specific recipient of the 1999 New Year Honours, click the relevant link on the right-hand side of this page.

Former Prime Minister John Major becomes a Companion of Honour in the New Year Honours list for his vital work for peace in Northern Ireland.

BBC Correspondent Duncan Kennedy: A broad array of honours
Leading a list of almost 1,000 members of British society, ranging from parliamentarians to shepherds, Mr Major was picked out by his successor Tony Blair for his groundwork that led the province to its historic Good Friday agreement in 1998.

The prime minister's official spokesman said Mr Blair had wanted to honour those who had "helped give peace a chance" in Northern Ireland. Mr Major is said to be delighted by the news.

Former US Senator George Mitchell, chair of the Northern Ireland peace talks, becomes a Grand Knight of the Order of the British Empire, one of the highest awards that can be bestowed on a foreign citizen.

[ image: Omagh bombing: Honours for workers]
Omagh bombing: Honours for workers
His co-chairman in the talks General Alfred John Gardyne Drummond de Chastelain, a Canadian and therefore member of the Commonwealth, was also named a Companion of Honour.

The second co-chairman, former Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri, is named an honorary KBE.

Downing Street confirmed that senior nationalist politicians from Northern Ireland had declined the offer of honours. The spokesman added that "we completely understand" the decision.

A doctor, a policeman and a council official who played vital roles in the aftermath of the Omagh bombing, the worst atrocity in Northern Ireland's troubled history, were also named in the list.

More than half those named in the list are recognised specifically for their voluntary service, the highest yet recorded in any list.

The BBC's Chris West: Honours underline government's commitment to peace process
They are joined by a pantheon of names from the worlds of politics, entertainment, sport and business.

Legendary singers Tom Jones and Dusty Springfield are both awarded OBEs while from the world of acting, Nigel Hawthorne receives a Knighthood and Maureen Lipman is named a CBE.

[ image: Denise Lewis: Gold medalist]
Denise Lewis: Gold medalist
In sport, heptathlete Denise Lewis, snooker player Jimmy White and Newcastle United player Stuart Pearce are named MBEs. Frank Williams, the Formula One motor racing team boss, is knighted.

Five life peers are created, including Onora Sylvia O'Neill, Principal of Cambridge University's Newnham College and Sir Naren Patel, consultant obstetrician and lately President, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

Three new Privy Counsellors are created including Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs and Defence spokesman.

Stand-up comedian and actor Lenny Henry gets a CBE for services to comedy drama and the charity Comic Relief.

[ image: Andrew Davis: Personality at the Proms]
Andrew Davis: Personality at the Proms
Andrew Davis, conductor of the annual Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall is knighted. Duncan Kenworthy, producer of one of the most popular British films ever, Four Weddings and a Funeral, receives an OBE.

Nicholas Serota, director of The Tate Gallery, is knighted and artist Bridget Riley is named a Companion of Honour.

Lady Howe of Aberavon, wife of former Conservative Foreign Secretary Lord Howe is made a CBE for services to the advancement of women.

Gareth Peirce, a lawyer who acted for the Birmingham Six and has been involved in overturning other miscarriages of justice, is also named a CBE while there is an OBE for Neil Buckland for work on behalf of the Thalidomide Trust.

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Life Peers to Order of the Companion of Honour

Order of the British Empire, Civil - OBE (part one)

Order of the British Empire, Civil - OBE (part two)

Order of the British Empire, Civil - OBE (part three)

Order of the British Empire - MBE A - D

Order of the British Empire - MBE E - J

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Order of the British Empire - MBE Q - Z

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