BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Northern Ireland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

BBC NI's Jane McMurran reports
"About 60 people from NI received awards this year"
 real 28k

Saturday, 16 June, 2001, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Knighthood for 'golden' flautist
James Galway
Flautist James Galway becomes a knight
Northern Ireland's Queen's birthday honours list is headed by knighthoods for flautist James Galway and the vice-chancellor of Queen's University, Professor George Bain.

Among more than 60 people on Saturday's list is Clive Gowdy who is permanent secretary to the Department of Health in the Northern Ireland government.

He is made a member of the Order of the Bath as is the director general of the Northern Ireland Court Service, John Thompson.

MBEs go to several people for their service in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and to Selina Yuet Kwan Lee for services to the Chinese community in Belfast.

Sir James it is

The internationally acclaimed flautist James Galway, whose early musical talent was first nurtured on the Shore Road in Belfast, becomes Sir James.

The honour, in the diplomatic and overseas list, is for services to music and comes several years after he received the OBE

Galway, 61, has become internationally known as "the man with the golden flute". He now lives in Switzerland.

Commenting on his new title he said he could not decide what to call himself - Sir Jimmy or Sir James.

"Everyone knows me as Jimmy, my wife, my friends, even the kids. But I think perhaps when it's official you should be called by your full name."

Penny whistle

He rose from a Belfast flute band to become one of the world's best-known concert soloists, having played with almost every orchestra of note in the world.

As a small child, he played the violin and penny whistle before he graduated to the flute.

Then at the age of 16 he had "a lucky break" when he was chosen to study at the Royal College of Music in London.

He has put his love for music back into the community, spearheading a music scheme for underprivileged young people, called Flutewise.

Eighteen months ago he underwent heart surgery but battled his way back to health.

His performances have taken him all over the world and included engagements at Buckingham Palace and the White House.

He also played In Oslo in December 1998 when David Trimble and John Hume were jointly presented with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Academic with Belfast roots

The only other knighthood bestowed in Northern Ireland goes to Professor George Bain, who has been vice-chancellor of Queen's University in Belfast since January 1998.

It was awarded for services to higher education and to the Low Pay Commission.

George Bain of Queen's University
George Bain: Services to higher education

Though born and educated in Canada, his roots are in Belfast where his mother was born.

His grandmother ran a dockside pub in the city for almost 30 years.

"She was only 4' 11" tall and used to have to stand on a crate behind the bar to serve customers," he told a Queen's University magazine soon after his appointment.

An economics and industrial relations expert, he came to QUB after eight years at the prestigious London Business School.

It was said he took the Belfast job in spite of suffering a drop in salary.

Professor Bain has been a member of ACAS, the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

He has also been a mediator and consultant on industrial relations problems.

Restructured university

In 1997, he was appointed by the new Labour government to chair the Low Pay Commission and was involved in the establishment of the first national minimum wage.

When he arrived at Queen's, he began a controversial restructuring which demanded that all academic staff prove themselves in research , or else lose their jobs.

Professor Bain said it was the way to improve standards of research and teaching.

Initially 100 staff members were threatened with redundancy and a number of departments were earmarked for closure.

Fund raiser honoured

Ambi Jamison: Fundraiser

Among the other recipients, pensioner Ambi Jamison from Crawfordsburn in County Down, is awarded the MBE for more than 40 years of fundraising for charities, including Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

The honour to the 89-year-old is in recognition of her tireless campaigning during which she has raised more that 56,000 for the hearing dogs charity.

She said news of the honour was a complete surprise to her.

"It is a great privilege to me to be able to do the work I do and help those less fortunate than myself."

Among the 44 people to be given the MBE is Czech-born Auschwitz survivor Helen Lewis, who was honoured for her services to contemporary dance.

Helen Lewis: Honoured for dance

Ms Lewis, who was born in Prague in 1916, wrote a best-selling autobiography A Time to Speak about her experiences in a Nazi concentration camp.

She was a founder member of Belfast Modern Dance Group and lives in the city.

"It was a very rare and welcome acknowledgement of the importance of the art of dance in our lives," she said.

"Through dance people can come together who wouldn't have come together in other circumstances."

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

16 Jun 01 | Birthday Honours 2001
Honours in Northern Ireland
15 Jun 01 | Entertainment
Dudley Moore celebrates CBE
15 Jun 01 | Birthday Honours 2001
Guide to the Honours
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Northern Ireland stories