Northern Ireland

Van Morrison knighthood leads NI awards in Queen's Birthday Honours list

Van Morrison Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Van Morrison described his knighthood as a "huge honour"

Van Morrison has been given a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The singer-songwriter is one of 85 people from Northern Ireland who have been recognised for their achievements.

The Belfast-born musician, whose full name is George Ivan Morrison, will be known as Sir George. He described his new title as a "huge honour".

Some of the 69-year-old star's biggest hits include Brown Eyed Girl, Moondance and, fittingly, Here Comes the Night.

His knighthood has been granted for "services to the music industry and to tourism in Northern Ireland".

'Musical journey'

In a statement on Friday, Morrison said: "Throughout my career I have always preferred to let my music speak for me, and it is a huge honour to now have that body of work recognised in this way.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the fans who have supported me on my musical journey."

Morrison was born into a working-class family in east Belfast in 1945 but his exceptional talent has made him a global recording star.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "one of the greatest singers of all time".

Image copyright The Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
Image caption Van Morrison was born into a working-class family in east Belfast and has become a global star in the music industry

The son of Harland and Wolff shipyard worker, he grew up in a small terraced house in Hyndford Street, in the shadow of the shipyard's famous cranes.

His father's extensive record collection exposed the younger Morrison to a huge range of American musicians, including Hank Williams, Ray Charles, and Muddy Waters.

Those early influences filtered into Morrison's own eclectic style which mixes soul, blues, jazz and country music with pop and rock.

As well as selling millions of records worldwide, he has won six Grammys and a Brit award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.

His relationship with stardom and the media has not always been comfortable. In 1993, he became the first living recipient not to attend his own induction ceremony at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

However, more recently he has accepted other accolades in person, including honorary degrees from both of Northern Ireland's universities.

Last year, he was granted the freedom of his native city and celebrated the honour by playing a free concert at Belfast's Waterfront Hall.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Van Morrison returned to his former school, Orangefield High in east Belfast last year to play concerts for pupils and staff to mark the school's closure

In total, 53 men and 32 women from Northern Ireland have been honoured by the Queen for their achievements in a range of fields and for their contribution to public life.

The second highest honour, Companion of the Bath (CB) was given to the top civil servant at Stormont's Department for Social Development, William Haire, while the chief executive of Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Robert Adair, becomes a Commander of the British Empire (CBE).

Also honoured is one of Northern Ireland leading exponents of the Chinese lion dance, Yuk Shan Lui.

PSNI Assistant chief Constable Will Kerr receives an OBE.

Former East Antrim MP Roy Beggs is awarded an MBE, as is BBC news cameraman Peter Cooper, who recently retired after 40 years.

Other recipients include:

Order of the British Empire (OBE)

  • Prof Kenneth Addley
  • Mr William Foster Caldwell
  • Mrs Jennifer Hawthorne
  • The Reverend Robert Herron
  • Dr David John Johnston
  • Mr William JamesKerr
  • Mr Conall Gerald MacLynn
  • Prof Emeritus Roy Robert Alexander McConkey
  • Mr John Mark McLean
  • Mrs Emer Marie Murnaghan
  • Prof James Robert Nixon
  • Mr John (Mark) Nodder
  • Mr David Charles Surplus
  • Mr David Glyndwr Wall
  • Dr Timothy David Wyatt

Member of the British Empire (MBE)

  • Mr John William Bamber
  • Mr Hugh Barry Barr
  • Alderman John Robert Beggs
  • Mr Michael David Black
  • Mrs Susan Dorothy Black
  • Mr Peter Samuel Wilfrid Hunter Cooper
  • Mr Samuel Henry Trevor Dale
  • Mr Charles David Donnan
  • Mr Colin William Hagan
  • Mrs Valerie Elizabeth Haugh
  • Mrs Jennifer Ann Hobson
  • Mrs Philomena Hughes
  • Mrs Agnes Kennedy
  • Mr Clifford Thomas Kennedy
  • Alderman William Thomas Kennedy
  • Mr William John Kernohan
  • Miss Jessica Susan Kidd
  • Mr Gavin Alexander Kirkpatrick
  • Mr Andrew Bell Magowan
  • Mrs Marie Mallon
  • Mr William Robert Mayne
  • Mrs Lynn McBurney
  • Mr James Thomas McKelvey
  • Ms (Martha) Eleanor Mearns
  • Mr William Alexander Miller
  • Mrs Alice Mills
  • Mr John James Monaghan
  • Mr Herbert John Park
  • Mr Trevor John Parkhill
  • Mr George Howard Robinson MLA
  • Mrs Eleanor Ross
  • Mr William JamesShaw
  • Mr George Crawford Shiels
  • Ms Sue-Ann Steen
  • Mrs JaneWatt
  • Councillor William James Webb

British Empire Medal (BEM)

  • Miss Susanne Carol Anderson
  • Mr Timothy Anderson
  • Mrs Joan Muriel Gladys Bell
  • Mrs Eileen Margaret Caldwell
  • Mrs Sheila Collins
  • Mrs Carol Florence Doey
  • Mr Robert Kenneth Goodman
  • Mrs Laura Kathleen Greenaway
  • Mrs Hilary Eleanor Halliday
  • Mrs Shirley Johnston
  • Mr Matthew James Ivan Kee
  • Mrs Elizabeth Keys
  • Miss Mavis Sarah Eleanor Kirk
  • Mr John Laverty
  • Yuk Shan Lui
  • Mr Samuel James Malcolmson
  • Mr John David Marshall
  • Mrs Mary McAlinden
  • Mr Jarlath James Newman
  • Mr Joseph Patrick Owens
  • Mr Andrew Joseph Patton
  • Mrs Margaret Ann Irene Robinson
  • Mrs Veronica Marian Rodgers
  • Miss Roberta Scott
  • Mrs Marion Hope Sterrit
  • Ms Linda Watson
  • Ms Florence Dianne Wilson
  • Mr Samuel Oliver Young

Queen's Police Medal (QPM)

  • Mr Peter Wallace Galbraith
  • Mr George Ernest Craythorne Hamilton
  • Mr Richard Gary McMullan

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