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Olivia Newton-John becomes a dame in UK New Year's honours list


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: England Nets

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has recognised its film-directing and cricketing stars in the New Year’s honours list, with a damehood for Olivia Newton-John and knighthoods for Sam Mendes, Steve McQueen and cricketer Clive Lloyd.

Honours also go to Ashes hero Ben Stokes, his captain Joe Root and footballer Jill Scott.

Singer Elton John, who was knighted in 1998, becomes a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to music.

British-born Australian singer and actress Newton-John, 71, is probably best-known for the 1978 musical “Grease” in which she sang the duet “You’re the One that I Want” with John Travolta which became one of the world’s best-selling singles.

Mendes, 54, directed the “Skyfall” and “Spectre” James Bond movies while McQueen, 50, won the 2014 Best Picture Oscar for his film “12 Years a Slave.” He becomes a Knight Bachelor, awarded by the Foreign Office in recognition of outstanding service to Britain internationally and overseas.

Lloyd, 75, was a middle-order batsman and captain of the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 at a time when the team reached the peak of its powers.

CBEs – Commander of the Order of the British Empire – go to “Butterflies” and “Not in front of the Children” sitcom actress Wendy Craig, 85; England limited-over cricket captain Eoin Morgan, 33, and broadcaster Annie Nightingale, 79.

OBEs – Order of the British Empire – are awarded to Australian Trevor Bayliss, 57, the former England cricket head coach; wine writer Oz Clarke, 80; Welsh taekwondo world champion Jade Jones; Snow Patrol singer Gary Lightbody and racing-horse trainer Paul Nicholls, 57.

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OBEs also go to broadcaster June Sarpong, 42; food writer Nigel Slater and to Stokes, 28, who was man of the match as England won the cricket World Cup for the first time this year and hit an unbeaten 135 in his side’s epic third Ashes Test triumph against Australia.

MBEs – Members of the Order of the British Empire – go to Root, 28, who was made England cricket captain in 2017; England and Manchester City women’s team midfielder Scott, 32; TV chef Ainsley Harriott, 62, and fashion expert Gok Wan, 45.

The New Year’s honours have been awarded since Queen Victoria’s reign in the 19th century and aim to recognise not just well-known figures but those who have contributed to national life through often selfless and unsung contributions over many years.

The biannual honours list is released on the Queen’s official birthday in June and at the end of each year. The list, along with a guide to the various awards, is published by the Cabinet Office and can be seen at www.gov.uk/honours/honours-lists.

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