Honours List

Women in film, business and sport take New Year awards

Honoured: Sharon White and Ian Curle

Women make up more than half (51%) of the recipients in the New Year’s Honours List with 44% of awards at the highest levels.

Damehoods are conferred on former Ofcom chief executive Sharon White (now CEO of John Lewis Partnership), the star of 70s film musical Grease Olivia Newton John, and broadcaster and campaigner Baroness Floella Benjamin.

Also made a Dame are director of Women’s Football at the FA Sue Campbell, the chief executive of Citizens’ Advice, Gillian Guy, and the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Professor Lesley Regan.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson steered the Main Honours Committee towards support for children and young people to achieve their potential, enhance life opportunities, remove barriers to success and work to tackle discrimination. 

Sportswomen feature highly in the list, with an OBE for World Taekwondo Champion Jade Jones; MBEs for former heptathlete Kelly Sotherton; England’s football midfielder Jill Scott; Netball World Cup Captain Serena Guthrie and broadcaster Gabby Logan.

Singer-songwriter and activist Sir Elton John and historian Sir Keith Thomas both become Companions of Honour. Film director Steve McQueen, is knighted for his services to art and film, together fellow film and theatre director Sam Mendes. Tory politician Iain Duncan-Smith is also knighted.

CBEs are conferred on actress Wendy Craig; DJ Annie Nightingale; veteran radio critic Gillian Reynolds and screenwriter Steven Knight. At OBE, there are awards for broadcaster June Sarpong; founder member of rock band Queen, Roger Taylor; and author and chef, Nigel Slater.

A knighthood goes to veteran cricketer Clive Lloyd and a number of awards go to the England squad, coaching team and grassroots volunteers involved in winning the ICC Cricket World Cup. Recognised are One-Day Captain Eoin Morgan and ECB Chairman Colin Graves at CBE; coach Trevor Bayliss and Vice-Captain Ben Stokes at OBE; and Joe Root and Joseph Buttler at MBE.

Ross McEwan at agm

CBE for Ross McEwan (pic: Terry Murden)

Industry and the economy make up 12.3% of the List. There is a CBE for former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Ross McEwan for services to the financial sector; former chief executive at Famous Grouse distiller Edrington Ian Curle for services to the Scotch whisky industry; and Brian Wilson, for services to charity and business in Scotland.

Scottish awards include:


Colette Cohen, chief executive, Oil and Gas Technology Centre, for services to the UK Oil and Gas Industry and Government Collaboration; Jeanette Linda Forbes, chief executive, PCL Group, for services to business, technology and charity; William Laing Gill, director, chairman and honforary secretary, Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, for services to the agriculture sector; Lesley Knox, lately chairman at V&A Dundee, for services to culture; Dr Helen McKay, head of Centre for Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change, for services to forest science and forestry; Laurie James Russell for services to social enterprise in Scotland.


Golfer Catriona Matthew, captain of Europe’s Solheim Cup winning squad; Jacquelynn Forsyth Craw, managing director, Offshore Pollution Liability Association, for services to arts, education and business; Vivien Anne Currie, chief executive, Hamilton Park Racecourse, for services to racecourse management, business and charity in Hamilton; Gordon Buchanan, film-maker; Thomas Niven, shipbuilding lead manager, Queen Elizabeth Class, Babcock Marine, for services to naval shipbuilding; Prof James Yu, future networks manager, SP Energy Networks, for services to the electricity supply industry and innovation;


In total 1,097 people have received an award:

789 (72%) of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity;

556 women are recognised in the List, representing 51% of the total;

9.1% of the successful candidates come from a BAME background;

11% of the successful candidates consider themselves to have a disability (under the Equality Act 2010);

3.3% of recipients identified as being LGBT+.

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