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Last Updated: Friday, 31 December, 2004, 16:07 GMT
Olympians lead New Year honours
Tanni Grey-Thompson with daughter Carys
Dame Tanni's daughter Carys was one of the first to congratulate her
Three of Britain's Olympic stars of 2004 have been given one of the country's highest accolades in the New Year Honours list.

Rower Matthew Pinsent has been made a Sir while runner Kelly Holmes and Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson - who each won two golds - are both Dames.

Pinsent's three team mates were awarded an OBE and two MBE titles.

CBI head Digby Jones, Met anti-terror chief David Veness and schools expert Mike Tomlinson have also been knighted.

Dame Tanni... that sounds pretty cool
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson

Kelly Holmes said she was "totally shocked" that "a girl who was brought up in a humble council house could be made Dame Kelly Holmes".

Tanni Grey-Thompson - Britain's most successful Paralympian - said her father Peter had "got pretty emotional" when he heard what her new title would be.

The 35-year-old Welsh wheelchair athlete said: "Dame Tanni...that sounds pretty cool."

Two headteachers received top honours for their services to education.

Matthew Pinsent and Kelly Holmes
Pure gold: arise Sir Matthew and Dame Kelly

Richard Staite, head of Beeslack Community High School in Penicuik, near Edinburgh, was knighted, and Mary MacDonald, head of Riverside Primary School in North Shields, was made a Dame.

Former NatWest chief executive Derek Wanless, 57 - who delivered two major reports on the NHS - also becomes a Sir.

Two newly-knighted figures who have attracted controversy recently are Home Office Permanent Secretary John Gieve and outgoing chief executive of the Child Support Agency Doug Smith.

Sir John, 54, faced criticism, along with fellow senior civil servants, for being unable to remember events surrounding the visa fast-tracking incident that led to the resignation of Home Secretary David Blunkett.

Quentin Blake, illustrator, CBE
John Lill, pianist, CBE
Anna Massey, actor, CBE
Alan Plater, writer and playwright, CBE
Ray Cooney, actor, writer, director and producer, OBE
Doug Ellis, Aston Villa chairman, OBE
Paul Lamplugh, Suzy Lamplugh Trust founder, OBE
Karl Jenkins, composer, OBE
Leslie Thomas, writer, OBE
Tom Wilkinson, actor, OBE
Barry Davies, BBC sports commentator, MBE
Leslie Law, equestrian, MBE
Hugh Lloyd, actor, MBE

Sir Doug, 57, resigned from his post in November amid widespread criticism of the agency's work, one year after a 456m IT system was brought in.

Entertainment figures listed this year included The Who frontman Roger Daltrey, who was made a CBE, as was actor Eric Sykes. Fellow actor Geoffrey Palmer was among those given an OBE award.

Author and broadcaster Alan Whicker, 79, became a CBE for his services to broadcasting, and Only Fools and Horses creator John Sullivan was appointed OBE for his services to drama.

There was also an OBE title for producer, songwriter and TV presenter Pete Waterman, who is famous for launching pop stars such as Kylie Minogue and more recently for his acerbic comments on pop reality TV shows.

Pinsent 'overjoyed'

In the legal world, lawyer Stephen Jakobi, the founder of Fair Trials Abroad, was made an OBE for his efforts on behalf of EU citizens imprisoned around the globe.

And there was a CBE award for Dr Michael Foale, the first Briton to walk in space.

A raft of other sports stars were rewarded for their performances in the New Year list.

James Cracknell, of the triumphant coxless fours team from the 2004 Olympics, was made an OBE.

Digby Jones
The 'voice of business' Digby Jones said he was "proud and thrilled"

Team mates Ed Coode and Stephen Williams can now add MBE to their titles.

Matthew Pinsent said he was "delighted" that rowing had been recognised so well and "overjoyed" about his own knighthood.

His retirement from the sport last month has denied him the chance to add to his tally but his involvement in London's 2012 Olympic Games bid has presented a fresh challenge.

He said: "My biggest goal now is the 2012 bid. Next year will have major repercussions for the Olympic movement and sport in this country. I would like to think I have a small part to play in that."

Yachtsman Ben Ainslie, who won his second Olympic gold in Athens, was appointed OBE.

Double Olympic sailing gold medallist Shirley Robertson was said to be thrilled by her "upgrade" to OBE, after being appointed MBE following her success in Sydney.

Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb, who won gold with Robertson in the three-man Yngling class, were made MBEs.

And the 4x100 metres men's relay squad - who beat favourites the USA to gold in Athens - were each awarded MBE titles.

Eric Sykes
Comedy great Eric Sykes, 81, is a veteran of British TV and radio

The accolade "reinforced" their Olympic achievement, said Jason Gardener, who was honoured along with Darren Campbell, Marlon Devonish and Mark Lewis-Francis.

"All of us had worked very hard for a long, long time to fetch off what most people believed was an impossible task.

"Of course this award is very special. But for me nothing will ever take away winning an Olympic gold medal," he said.

Cyclist Bradley Wiggins, Wigan and Great Britain rugby captain Andrew Farrell, and golfer Colin Montgomerie were among the other sportspeople to be made OBEs.

Scottish cyclist Chris Hoy, who brought gold home from Athens, said it would be a "hard year to better" after receiving the title of MBE.

In the worlds of banking and publishing there were OBE awards for the inventor of the automatic cash machine John Shepherd-Barron, and for editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, for services to the magazine industry.

Olympians' delight at awards


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