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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 13:33 GMT
Radio veteran Young tops honours list
Bee Gees on Parkinson
The Bee Gees have been awarded CBEs
The elder statesman of British broadcasting, Jimmy Young, has been awarded a knighthood in a glittering New Year Honours list.

The 78-year-old, who becomes Sir Jimmy, said he shared the honour with the listeners of his daily BBC Radio 2 chat show.

Disco kings the Bee Gees are also celebrating after being awarded CBEs.

The brothers from the Isle of Man, Barry Gibb, 55, and twins Maurice and Robin Gibb, 52 - famous for their high voices and string of worldwide hits - are among a host of celebrities in this year's awards.

Jimmy Young
Jimmy's show has over five million listeners
Maurice Gibb said: "It's indescribable, it really is, I'm speechless, and Barry and Robin are the same.

"This is the first time I've had phone calls with them when they haven't said anything. They're just taking a deep breath, going 'Is it true?'"

In the sports world, England's cricket captain Nasser Hussain, Liverpool soccer veteran Gary McAllister, and world boxing champion Lennox Lewis are all recognised, along with former England football manager Graham Taylor, who gets an OBE.

But while famous names swamp the headlines, half of the list is dedicated to "ordinary" people and those in public services.

Members of the British Consulate-General in New York, have been rewarded for their "exceptional work" in the wake of the 11 September attack on the World Trade Centre.

'Enormous honour'

A delighted Sir Jimmy, who managed to keep news of his knighthood a secret for a month, said: "I'm deeply honoured and I am indeed most grateful.

The expletives coming out of my mouth...were not very knightly to put it mildly

Sir Ben Kingsley
"This is an enormous honour and one that I share with five million listeners."

Other stars cracking open the champagne include actors Lynn Redgrave (OBE) and Miriam Margolyes (OBE).

Actor Ben Kingsley, who receives a knighthood, said he was so stunned by the news the air turned blue.

Sir Ben, who won a best actor best Oscar in the film Gandhi, said: "The expletives coming out of my mouth...were not very knightly to put it mildly."

Brigadier Alex Birtwistle
Brigadier Alex Birtwistle receives a CBE
A wide variety of singers have also been singled out for recognition including opera star Lesley Garrett, soul singer Sade, stage diva Barbara Dickson, Irish crooner Daniel O'Donnell, who was awarded an honorary MBE for his decades of work in the music industry.

Ms Garrett said she was "thrilled to bits and absolutely flabbergasted" after hearing she had been made a CBE.

'Outstanding service'

Half the awards - 445 - are specifically for voluntary service and nearly half have been nominated by members of the public.

People like sub-postmistress Ann Shiner, who gets an OBE for services to the community in Warminster, Wiltshire.

Widow Jayne Zito said she was "speechless" after learning she was also being awarded an OBE.

Mrs Zito has campaigned tirelessly for greater influence over community care policy for the severely mentally ill since her husband of three months was stabbed to death by a schizophrenic in 1992.

"I have tried so hard for such a long time and to be recognised like this, nationally and publicly, is amazing," she said.

Twin Towers recognition

Several MBEs and OBEs were awarded to members of the British Consulate-General in New York in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Centre twin towers in which dozens of Britons perished.

Their duties included the harrowing task of ascertaining who was in the building when the attack occurred, and then notifying the next-of-kin.

Jayne Zito
Campaigner Jayne Zito becomes an OBE

Meanwhile, the Consul-General Thomas George Harris becomes a knight.

"The aim, as always, has been to reward those who work at the sharp end, people who have really changed things or have given outstanding service to others in difficult situations," a Downing Street spokesman said.


The straight-talking Army officer, Brigadier Alex Birtwistle, receives a military CBE for masterminding the Army's battle against foot-and-mouth in Cumbria.

Among the more unusual recipients of an award is Maureen Beaumont, manager of Transport for London's lost property office, who gets an MBE.

The office handles 127,000 lost items a year, of which nearly 21,000 were returned to their owners.

And Margaret Barbour, the businesswoman who made waxed green jackets instantly recognisable the world over, has been made a Dame.

Mrs Barbour, who took over the family firm in 1968 when her husband died at the age of just 29, said she was "absolutely delighted and overwhelmed" .

The BBC's Daniel Boettcher
"The events of 11 September are also remembered"
Actress Miriam Margolyes OBE
"I'm completely thrilled"

Who do you think should be recognised in the New Year's Honours ListHonours List
Did the awards go to the right people?
See also:

31 Dec 01 | Entertainment
31 Dec 01 | SOL
31 Dec 01 | Entertainment
30 Dec 01 | New Year Honours
30 Oct 01 | Entertainment
02 Nov 01 | Newsmakers
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