Olympic heroes head New Year Honours


'Sir Wiggo' amused by knighthood

Bradley Wiggins, who won the Tour de France and an Olympic gold, has been knighted in a New Year Honours list dominated by London 2012 medallists.

The cyclist appears on a special list drawn up to recognise 78 Games heroes.

Paralympic cyclist Sarah Storey becomes a dame after taking four golds while the most decorated sailor in Olympic history, Ben Ainslie, is knighted.

Katherine Grainger, Victoria Pendleton, Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and David Weir become CBEs, and Andy Murray is an OBE.

And the men behind cycling and rowing success, performance directors Dave Brailsford and David Tanner, also become sirs.

Olympics and Paralympics


  • Ben Ainslie (sailing)
  • Sarah Storey (cycling)
  • Bradley Wiggins (cycling)
  • Dave Brailsford (cycling)
  • David Tanner (rowing)


  • Jessica Ennis (athletics)
  • Mo Farah (athletics)
  • Katherine Grainger (rowing)
  • Victoria Pendleton (cycling)
  • David Weir (athletics)


  • Jason Kenny (cycling)
  • Andy Murray (tennis)
  • Ellie Simmonds (swimming)
  • Laura Trott (cycling)


  • Nicola Adams (boxing)
  • Alistair Brownlee (triathlon)
  • Jonny Peacock (athletics)
  • Greg Rutherford (athletics)
  • Louis Smith (gymnastics)

Away from the Games, there are OBEs for actor Ewan McGregor and fashion designer Stella McCartney, while illustrator Quentin Blake was also knighted on the main list for those not involved in London 2012.

There is also a knighthood for the industrial designer, Kenneth Grange, the man behind the UK's first parking meter, the InterCity 125 train and the Kodak Instamatic camera.

Singer Kate Bush and artist Tracey Emin are made CBEs, an honour also bestowed on former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips, for her services to dance and to charity. Comedy writer Jeremy Lloyd, 82, who co-wrote TV shows including the BBC's 'Allo 'Allo and Are You Being Served is among the OBEs.

There is also a CBE for Cherie Blair, the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in recognition of her service to women's issues and to charity in the UK and overseas. The first female foreign secretary Margaret Beckett becomes a dame.

For the first time, the Cabinet Office has published citations giving details of why the highest honours have been made following a complaint from MPs on the Public Administration Select Committee that the process should be more transparent.

But much of the attention will centre on the people rewarded for making the two London Games such a success.

Affectionately known as Wiggo, the first British winner of the Tour said: "I never ever imagined that I would ever become a knight so it's an incredible honour.

"But there's a slight element of disbelief and it will take a while to sink in."

Known for his sideburns and his retro Mod fashion sense, Sir Bradley already had a CBE.

Storey, who is expecting her first child, is honoured for services to para-cycling after her London medal haul took her gold medal total to 11, which equals Tanni Grey-Thompson and Dave Roberts as one of the country's most successful Paralympians.

Other notable recipients

Peter Higgs

Companion of Honour:

  • Lord Coe (London 2012)
  • Professor Peter Higgs (physics, pictured)


  • Quentin Blake (illustration)
  • Kenneth Grange (design)
  • Bernard Hogan-Howe (policing)
  • Hector Sants (financial services)
  • Margaret Beckett (political service)


  • Cherie Blair (women's issues)
  • Kate Bush (music)
  • Tracey Emin (arts)
  • Martha Lane Fox (digital economy)
  • Arlene Phillips (dance)


  • Stella McCartney (fashion)
  • Ewan McGregor (acting)


  • Nicola Benedetti (music)
  • Mark Ramprakash (cricket)
  • Pat Rice (football)

The 35-year-old from Disley in Cheshire said: "Wow, I am speechless but incredibly honoured and extremely proud."

Some of the biggest names of London 2012 received CBEs - the UK's most successful female rower, Katherine Grainger, the poster girl of the Games, Jessica Ennis, and wheelchair athlete David "The Weirwolf" Weir. Weir won four gold medals in the 5,000m, 1500m, 800m and marathon at the 2012 Paralympics.

Joining their ranks with his first honour is athlete Mo Farah, who lifted the nation with his double gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

His first came during a pulsating 46 minutes in the Olympic Stadium on Super Saturday, 4 August, when Team GB picked up three gold medals - Farah in the 10,000m, Ennis in the heptathlon and Greg Rutherford in the long jump, an achievement that earned him an MBE.

Andy Murray was made an OBE in a year which saw him win Olympic gold and become the first British man to win a grand slam singles title for 76 years when he triumphed in the US Open.

Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, 18, now has an OBE to add to the MBE she won in 2009, the youngest person to do so aged 14.

Some of the people who helped to make the games such a success were recognised, including Lord Coe, who becomes a Companion of Honour, a special honour given for service of conspicuous national importance and limited to 65 people at any one time.

It is an exclusive club and now also includes Professor Peter Higgs, who predicted a new particle, the Higgs Boson, in the 1960s, and this year the particle was proved to exist.

One name missing from the list is film and theatre director Danny Boyle, whose artistic vision was so spectacularly realised in the Olympic opening ceremony.

When asked if he would like to become "Sir Danny" during an interview on Radio 4's Front Row earlier this month, Mr Boyle laughed and said: "I'm very proud to be an equal citizen and I think that's what the opening ceremony was actually about."

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said he turned down the offer of a CBE for his services to the Olympics.

Nicola Adams said: "I can't believe how much my life has changed"

He told London radio station LBC 97.3: "I don't believe politicians should get honours", adding that he "was paid very good money to be the mayor of London" and voters' recognition was reward enough for him.

BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas has been appointed an MBE for services to the community in Chiswick, west London.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said an unprecedented number of sportspeople had received honours, with 123 awards compared to 44 in the last list. Of these, 78 were related to the Olympics or Paralympics.

He said there were four criteria in deciding which athletes should be awarded including longevity in the sport, general performance and how much they give back to the sporting community.

The sporting honours committee also assesses what stage the individual is in their career in terms of whether they are likely to be competing for a further number of years.

He added that 72% of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity.

Sir Quentin Blake: "To me it's amazing"

They include Penelope Clough, 53, who becomes an MBE after campaigning for a change in the law related to bail, following the murder of her daughter Jane by her ex-partner.

The man committed the offence after being released on bail but following the work of Ms Clough, prosecutors are now able to challenge judges' bail decisions in the High Court.

Recipients of the British Empire Medal (BEM), reintroduced in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours, include Robert Clinton for his work with the Veterans Aid charity, which looks after homeless ex-service personnel.

The Foreign Office's diplomatic and overseas list honouring those living or working abroad includes recognition for codebreaker Raymond Roberts, who is made an MBE for services to Bletchley Park. Alison Shalaby, who is the chief executive officer of Reunite, becomes a CBE for services to the prevention and resolution of international parental child abduction.

Some 31 head teachers have been recognised, including Joan McVittie, who transformed two schools in deprived areas of London and Sally Coates, who has overseen huge improvements at Burlington Danes Academy in west London. Both become Dames.

The Honours System

Commonly awarded ranks:

  • Knight or Dame
  • CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • OBE - Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • MBE - Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • BEM - British Empire Medal

In the world of business, former head of the Financial Services Authority Hector Sants who was in charge of regulation at the start of the credit crisis, has been knighted, while Sir Alan Budd, who was on the first Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee in 1997, becomes a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.

Prof Simon Wessely, a leading researcher into the mental health of military personnel who heads the department of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, has been knighted.

The head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and Metropolitan Police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe is knighted.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1385.

    With 1068 honours, and only 78 going to Olympic sports people
    Seems a small proportion(@7%) to get worked up about

    72% to people "have undertaken outstanding work in their communities"

    It seems like the Mods have come back
    Just deleted a post from hours ago..!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1384.

    A total joke, a knighthood for winning a couple of bike races. Where is the contribution to the nation as a whole over many years of service, or dedication. What has Kate Bush done besides singing a few songs. The awards should not be given out so easily, they become more an more diluted every year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1383.

    I dislike him, but fair play to Ken Livingstone for turning down his honour. As some people have quite rightly said, people shouldn't be honoured for doing their day job (unless they've gone above and beyond what is normally expected of them). Honours should primarily be for those who do something truly exceptional for our country. I think some of our Olympians and Paralympians are worthy of that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1382.

    "1377.David H
    Nothing will happen of any significance
    This is not the 70's/80's, Red Army Faction, Red Brigades, Action Directe"

    Utterly irrelevant.

    I fervently hope it doesn't happen, but with warnings like that I'll not be holding my breath. People are angry, very, very angry, and come April there will be plenty who really will not have anything else to lose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1381.

    1085. norstewart and countless others. Yeah, coz Wiggins has done nothing until this year. He's only got 1 gold medal and hasn't become hte first Briton to win the Tour de France. Oh hang on... what's that I hear.... sustained performance over numerous Olympic games, and a history maker. I'm sorry, but if anyone is ever due an honour it's Sir Bradley.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1380.

    I live in London and to get to work each day during the Olympics I had to cross an Olympic lane where pedestrian crossings had been removed. Thus I risked my life every day. Guess that now I will feature on the BBC news story and will be referred to as an Olympic hero!

    Can't wait for my letter from the Honours Committee!!!

  • Comment number 1379.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1378.

    Cherie Blair????????????? Wot, seriously?????????? These 'awards' are more of a joke than I thought!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1377.

    1362.Ex Tory Voter
    24 Minutes ago
    + the Mayor of Liverpool saying the same.
    We live in interesting times I fear.
    Nothing will happen of any significance
    This is not the 70's/80's, Red Army Faction, Red Brigades, Action Directe

  • rate this

    Comment number 1376.

    I thought the honours had reached a low point.
    Then 1367 tells me that Alex Salmonella has been offered one and refused.
    Dear God!

    Not that long ago his organs would have been sent to the four corners of the Mother Country a la Wallace.

    What's gone so wrong with our way of life?

  • Comment number 1375.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1374.

    the whole thing is just an embarassing charade

  • rate this

    Comment number 1373.

    @13685. D
    "They are given awards. Read the full list!"

    And the number of those getting Knighthoods or CBEs for giving their time, over years or decades, for free, after working their 40 hours in offices and factories was how many?

    Do remind us.

    Thank you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1372.

    The system has become a bit of a joke - soon goal scorers in the FA cup will be honoured! We are becoming a society where mediocrity is rewarded and recognised as a measure of excellence. No longer do these honours reflect the 'outstanding' achievements of those ordinary people who do that extra something to 'better' the society we live in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1371.

    Please read the full, over 100 page list of honours before proclaiming the whole system as worthless on the basis of one headline award.

    There are doctors, volunteers, charity workers, foster parents, teachers, scientists, etc that you won't have heard of and who rightly deserve recognition. And you can nominate people yourself, online. Do it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1370.

    Honours are used politically to keep the English flock happy and contented with their lot
    Baah humbug!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1369.

    When "wiggo" does something for others, in a selfless manner, then fair do's. And not in a self publicist way, or for product advertising.
    when the rest of them follow suit, then again, fair do.
    But I can't see the point in any of them apart from Kate Bush. Self interested, feckless narcissist. Dodgy business types, and pharmaceutical lackies, lying about what has caused what.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1368.

    i would be more impresed with Cherie Blair if she was not paid so much for her charity work (by the tax payer) and did not have such big office in london paid out the charity money (which comes from guess where) so how much of the charity money is spent on making her look good and how much on the good works

  • rate this

    Comment number 1367.

    Well done to Ken Livingston for refusing a CBE and Alex Salmond for turning down a knighthood. Nice to see that some people stick to their principles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1366.

    Honours are used politically to keep the English flock happy and contented with their lot. How many of the recipients have done anything which will have any long term effect on the good of mankind? They deserve to be honoured. The rest is fluff.


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