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Last Updated: Friday, 31 December, 2004, 07:44 GMT
Tanni becomes 'pretty cool' dame
Tanni Grey-Thompson celebrates winning the 100m at the Athens Olympics
Tanni Grey-Thompson celebrates winning the 100m at the Athens Olympics
The athlete regarded as Britain's greatest Paralympian, wheelchair racer Tanni Grey-Thompson, has been made a dame in the New Year's Honours list.

But the new Dame Tanni, who admitted it was "pretty cool" to be honoured, said: "Just call me Tanni."

The Cardiff-born racer won her 11th gold medal at the Paralympics in Athens this summer and has previously received an OBE and MBE.

She said the news was "something really special" for her and her family.

"It feels pretty amazing actually. I remember getting the letter and opening it up and just screaming and, emotionally, I'm quite quiet," said the athlete.

There's maybe one or two people I'd like to call me Dame!
Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson
"For me and my family it's something really special and it's lovely and I'm going to change all my credit cards and passport to Dame Tanni.

"It would be nice to use it a little but I'm not going to insist on being called Dame Tanni because I'm just Tanni to everyone.

"But yeah, there's maybe one or two people I'd like to call me Dame!" she said.

Other well-known Welsh names to receive New Year's Honours are best-selling author Leslie Thomas and internationally-renowned composer Karl Jenkins, who were awarded OBEs.

Author Leslie Thomas
Leslie Thomas has sold millions of his books during his career
Mr Thomas, who was born in Newport and now lives in Hampshire, has published 28 books and sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.

His father, a sailor, died when he was a boy but he used his experiences of growing up in a orphanage to write his 1964 novel, This Time Next Week.

Mr Jenkins was born in the small Gower village of Penclawdd and was introduced to music by his father, organist and choirmaster at the local Tabernacle Chapel.

His deep interest in jazz influences his early compositions and he has gone on to write the multi-million-selling Adiemus project and compose music for the opening of the new Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff.

From the world of commerce, chairman of the Welsh Development Agency Roger Jones, has been knighted for services to business and training in Wales.

Professor Jean Thomas, professor of macromolecular biochemistry at Cambridge University, has been made a dame for services to biochemistry.

The scientist is originally from Swansea and studied at the University of Wales.

Meanwhile BBC Radio Wales presenter Chris Needs, best known for his "garden" of listeners, received an MBE for his charitable work.

BBC Radio Wales' Chris Needs in his garden
Chris Needs has an army of fans who have joined his garden
"I really didn't think it would happen but it has happened," he said.

"A journalist came up to me and said congratulations and I said, 'Oh, are the listening figures out, are they?'

"And then it hit me and I thought oh my god this is big. I don't know what to say to the Queen.

"I know what to say to say to my garden though, my listeners - thank you so very, very much and I'll probably say the same to the Queen."

In the sports world, MBEs also went to Newport-based sprinter Darren Campbell, who won Olympic gold in the 4x100m relay in Athens, and former Wales rugby captain Bleddyn Williams.


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