Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Sport stars lead New Year Honours

Lewis Hamilton, Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington
Hoy beat Hamilton and Adlington to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year

Olympians Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington and driver Lewis Hamilton have rounded off an exceptional year for UK sport with New Year Honours.

Cyclist Hoy is knighted after three Beijing golds and double gold-winning swimmer Adlington becomes an OBE. F1 champion Hamilton is made an MBE.

The new sirs also include fantasy author Terry Pratchett, while rock star Robert Plant becomes a CBE.

Sara Payne, a campaigner following the murder of her daughter, is made an MBE.

'It's mad'

In China this summer, Hoy became the first British athlete in more than 100 years to win three gold medals at one Games.

"To become a knight from riding your bike, it's mad," he said. "But it is, genuinely, just an amazing honour."

His knighthood comes after being crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year earlier this month.

Further honours for the British cycling team that dominated the sport in Beijing see double gold-winner Bradley Wiggins and coach David Brailsford become CBEs, and eight more gold-medallists made MBEs.

The honours continue for contributors to Britain's best Olympics performance since 1908, including sailor Ben Ainslie who is made a CBE after collecting three golds at successive Games.

Cyclist Chris Hoy on being knighted

Nineteen-year-old Adlington is honoured after becoming Britain's first woman swimmer to win Olympic gold since 1960.

"There are so many amazing names on the list, it's something I'll treasure for the rest of my life," she said.

Fourteen-year-old Paralympian swimmer Eleanor Simmonds said she felt like she was "living in a fairy-tale" on becoming the youngest person ever honoured, made an MBE after winning two golds in the pool in Beijing.

The first British woman to win the Olympic 400m, Christine Ohuruogu, becomes an MBE.

In Formula One, Lewis Hamilton secured the title only on the last corner of the last race, becoming the youngest ever champion at the age of 23.

Becoming an MBE was "the most amazing culmination to what has been quite a year for me", he said.

The New Year Honours turn out to be a double celebration for the Hoy family, with the cyclist's mother Carol Hoy made an MBE for her work as a specialist nurse at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh.

Reading Football Club chairman John Madejski, meanwhile, receives a knighthood for his charity work.

'Totally astonished'

Some 966 people are recognised in the New Year Honours.

It'll be nice to meet the real Queen at last

Actor Michael Sheen OBE

In the entertainment world, a knighthood for Terry Pratchett is recognition for a writing career that has seen him sell more than 55 million books worldwide, including his best-known Discworld series.

"There are times when phrases such as 'totally astonished' just don't do the job," said Sir Terry about the honour.

The 60-year-old has become a campaigner for more research into Alzheimer's disease after being diagnosed with the illness in 2007.

Robert Plant, who found fame in the 1970s with rock group Led Zeppelin, is recognised for services to music.

The singer of rock classics such as Whole Lotta Love and Stairway to Heaven becomes a CBE.

Liz Smith
Liz Smith only became a professional actress in her 50s

Jazz musician Courtney Pine, also made a CBE, said he was "deeply moved to be honoured".

The 44-year-old, who has become something of a British jazz ambassador, called his work "a noble mission in uniting people through sound".

Actor Michael Sheen, best known for portraying Tony Blair in TV's The Deal and Oscar-winning film The Queen, is made an OBE.

"It'll be nice to meet the real Queen at last," said the 39-year-old, who said he was "thrilled and slightly mystified".

Meanwhile, the Royle Family actress Liz Smith becomes an MBE.

Jenny Abramsky, who headed the BBC's national radio stations for almost a decade until earlier this year, becomes a dame.

"I'm thrilled because I believe this honour recognises the importance of radio in this country," she said.

Big business

Another new dame is Chief Inspector of Prisons Anne Owers, while Juliet Lyon, director of Prison Reform Trust is made a CBE for services to the Welfare of Prisoners.

Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett published his first novel, The Carpet People, in 1971
Entrepreneur Peter Jones, who appears in the BBC's Dragons' Den and heads the National Skills Academy for Enterprise, is made a CBE.

He said that none of the previous awards he had collected in his career compared to this honour, adding: "For me it's about the future entrepreneurs that it inspires."

Anya Hindmarch, designer of fashion accessories including the phenomenally successful "I'm not a plastic bag", and interior designer Kelly Hoppen become MBEs.

There is a knighthood for Paul Edwards, the principal of Garforth Community College, near Leeds, who also advises the government on education.

The 51-year-old said he was "shocked and very surprised", going on to praise his "remarkable school, a great place to work full of remarkable teachers and support staff".

Anya Hindmarch
Designer Anya Hindmarch's shopping bag was a phenomenon in 2007

Professor Tim Brighouse, pioneer of the London school improvement programme which was the basis for the current national challenge programme, is also knighted.

Six heroes of the 7 July 2005 bomb attacks on London are among hundreds of members of the public recognised by honours.

Among them is Timothy Coulson, who raced across railway tracks to administer first aid to injured passengers.

Gill Hicks lost both her legs on the bombed Piccadilly line Tube to Russell Square. She co-founded the Walktalk event to bring communities together, and is made an MBE.

Football legend

Sara Payne, made an MBE, has been a tireless child protection campaigner since the murder of her eight-year-old daughter Sarah in 2000.

Lyn Costello and Dee Edwards become MBEs after setting up campaign group Mothers Against Murder and Aggression in the wake of the killing of two-year-old James Bulger in 1993.

Dennis Goodwin, chairman of the First World War Veterans' Association, is made an MBE.

Sara payne
Sara Payne's campaigning has led to child protection law changes

The wife of football legend Kenny Dalglish becomes an MBE, having set up The Marina Dalglish Appeal breast cancer charity after beating the disease.

An OBE for services to Broadcasting goes to Dr Anita Kumari Bhalla, editor, public space broadcasting at the BBC. And Paul Potts, the executive chairman of the Press Association, is made a CBE.

Among the other new MBEs are Hertfordshire couple Robert and Caroline Rejdak, for services to children and families, having fostered a total of 117 children of all ages over a period of 30 years.

And eighty-seven-year-old Dorothy Atton is made an MBE, having been a Royal British Legion volunteer since 1946.

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