LONDON Dec. 30 (TNS): Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and sole surviving Bee Gee Barry Gibb were each awarded a knighthood in Britain’s traditional New Year Honours, announced late on Friday.
The two music legends were joined on the prestigious annual achievement list by Golden Globe-winning actor Hugh Laurie, renowned dancer Darcey Bussell, and hip-hop artist Wiley.
Lesser known recipients include 101-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Mordaunt Cohen — honoured for his services to World War II education — and Lucia Mee, 18, the youngest person rewarded, for her efforts to raise organ donation awareness.
Starr, 77 — real name Richard Starkey — became a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1965, but 52 years later has now been given a knighthood for services to music.
“It’s an honour and a pleasure to be considered and acknowledged for my music and my charity work, both of which I love,” he said in a brief statement released Friday.
Starr follows in the footsteps of his famous bandmate, who became Sir Paul McCartney in 1997.
McCartney told a British radio station “it’s about time” Starr was knighted.
Gibb — a singer, songwriter, and record producer who already held a commander (CBE) title — received his knighthood for services to music and charity.
“The magic, the glow, and the rush will last me the rest of my life,” he said.
Dancer Bussell — the former principal at The Royal Ballet and president of The Royal Academy of Dance — said she was “truly humbled” after learning of her damehood for promoting dance in Britain and abroad.
Comedic actor, writer, and musician Laurie — the star of The Night Manager, House, and numerous movies — won a CBE.
Meanwhile, hip-hop artist Wiley — born Richard Cowie — who is often hailed the “godfather of grime” music, received an MBE.
He thanked his family “for being there for me when I needed them”.
“It feels like the school grade I wanted and didn’t get but now I’m finally there,” the musician added.
Recipients of Britain’s famous honours system are chosen twice a year, on the Queen’s birthday and ahead of the new year.
Anybody can nominate someone for an award to receive one of the various accolades, which range from knighthoods and CBEs — honouring national or regional roles — to OBEs and MBEs aimed at more local achievements.
Recommendations are considered by one of nine expert committees spanning different specialisations, from arts and media to science and technology.
The latest New Year’s Honours list awarded 1,123 people, with 70 percent having worked in their local communities.
Efe Ezekiel — who has mentored thousands of children between the ages of three and 25 in the London area — was among those recognised for her positive impact on people’s lives.
“They truly do need great role models,” she said ahead of the official announcement.
“For me, this is one of the most wonderful honours, it’s blown my mind at the moment — still,” Ezekiel added.
Politicians, who have long been honoured in the biannual lists, were also among the awardees.
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg — a prominent campaigner for Britain to remain in the European Union — and influential Conservative backbench lawmaker Graham Brady both earned knighthoods.
Professor John Curtice — who led the exit polls that accurately predicted recent general elections, including Labour’s surprise gains in June — also received a knighthood for services to social sciences and politics.
In sport, Heather Knight — the captain of England’s World Cup-winning cricket team — earned an OBE alongside head coach Mark Robinson, while women’s cricket director Clare Connor was upgraded to a CBE.
Meanwhile player of the tournament Tammy Beaumont and player of the final Anya Shrubsole also received MBEs for their endeavours.