Kate Bingham, who led the UK’s successful Covid-19 vaccine task force, is to become a dame in a Queen’s birthday honours list heavily weighted towards recognising contributions to the fight against coronavirus.
Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, is also made a dame for her pivotal role in developing the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Two Oxford colleagues who played a key role in the vaccine’s development, Adrian Hill and Andy Pollard, will receive knighthoods. So will two other Oxford professors, Peter Horby and Martin Landray, who led clinical trials of Covid treatments.
Altogether, nearly a quarter of the nominations on the list, published to coincide with the monarch’s official birthday on Saturday, relate to the UK’s battle against the virus.
The honours include a British Empire Medal for Rhys Mallows, 25, from South Glamorgan, who switched his distillery from producing gin at the start of the pandemic to make 1.3m bottles of hand sanitiser.
John Brownhill and Amanda Guest, a brother and sister who set up Food4Heroes to prepare fresh meals for health service staff during the pandemic, will also receive BEMs.
“The development of vaccines has been a triumph of scientific and industrial collaboration,” said Bingham. “Just a year ago we were assembling an unproven portfolio of vaccines for the UK. Yet in the last six months nearly 70m vaccine doses have provided unprecedented protection and saved thousands of lives.
“I am thrilled that so many women have made such enormous contributions to science, healthcare, manufacturing and technology during the pandemic,” she added. “I hope this encourages more girls to pursue careers in these sectors.”
Gilbert said: “I have worked in the development of vaccines against infectious pathogens for many years and in the past 17 months have been able to draw on all that I have learned in order to respond to the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic.”
In business, meanwhile, there is a knighthood for António Horta-Osório, former chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group now at Credit Suisse, who said he felt “very honoured”. Philip Augar, the financial commentator who chaired the review of post-18 education in England, also receives a knighthood, as does John Kay, economist and Financial Times columnist.
Lucy Kellaway, FT contributing editor and co-founder of Now Teach, which helps experienced professionals retrain as teachers, is made OBE for services to education.
Kellaway said: “So far we have persuaded more than 500 older professionals to retrain,” adding “this award is for all of them”.
Anne Richards, chief executive of Fidelity International, becomes a dame for services to financial services, women, learning and science.
In business, Adam Marshall, former director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, receives a CBE for his contribution, while Charlotte Crosswell, former chief executive of Innovate Finance, the financial technology trade group, is recognised with an OBE.
Among athletes, sports people are honoured for their roles as social activists, with MBEs for Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, for services to football and charity, and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, for services to equality in sport.
Henderson was one of the leaders of a campaign by Premier League captains to raise money for NHS charities during the pandemic, while Sterling was a vocal advocate for racial rights.
Sports commentator Sue Barker becomes CBE, as does Roy Hodgson, former manager of the England football team and Crystal Palace.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said the honours allowed the country to pay tribute to those who had gone “above and beyond” in their service to the UK and that throughout the pandemic there had been “countless examples of everyday heroes”.
“We should take heart from the stories of those receiving honours today and be inspired by their courage and kindness,” he said.
A total of 62 per cent of the 1,129 people honoured have been recognised for voluntary or paid work in local communities.