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Jazz pianist collects knighthood

13 June 07 15:57 GMT

Veteran jazz pianist George Shearing has received his knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The 87-year-old musician, who was born blind, was accompanied by his wife Lady Eleanor and actress Lindy Alexander.

"I enjoyed it very much and I am very excited about it," he told reporters after his investiture.

One of the best known jazz pianists of the post-war era, he was made an OBE in 1996 and received a life achievement honour at the BBC Jazz Awards in 2003.

Born the youngest of nine children to a coalman from south London in 1919, Sir George moved to the United States in 1947 and has lived in New York since 1978.

Two years after he moved to the US he scored a huge hit with the record September In The Rain.

Known for his unusual "locked hands" style of playing, Sir George has played for three US presidents as well as the Queen.

He was still performing into his 80s but suffered a serious fall in 2004 that led to months of hospital and nursing home care.

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