Kylie Minogue leads celebs on British New Year honours list

Other News Materials 29 December 2007 07:03 (UTC +04:00)

Australian pop star Kylie Minogue was among the celebrities decorated in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year Honours List, published Saturday.

The singer, 39, said she was "deeply touched" to be made a Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the annual list.

Actors, musicians, businessmen, sports stars and unsung heroes such as bus drivers and teachers were among the 972 people rewarded for their services to their industries or communities.

Minogue has sold more than 60 million records worldwide and overcame breast cancer, diagnosed in 2005, to return to performing.

"This last year I have felt so much love and support from everyone as I took greater steps back into the public domain, and it is with absolute gratitude and joy that I say farewell to 2007 and look forward to what the New Year will bring," she said.

Among the actors rewarded were "The Lord of the Rings" star Sir Ian McKellen, who becomes a Companion of Honour; old smoothie Leslie Phillips, who becomes a commander of the order (CBE), and "Harry Potter" regulars Richard Griffiths (OBE), and Julie Walters (CBE).

Barbara Broccoli, who co-produces the "James Bond" films, received an OBE.

In music circles, Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson became a member of the order (MBE), while Trevor Romeo, Soul II Soul frontman Jazzie B, received the OBE.

Ian Wilmut, who created Dolly the sheep in 1996, the world's first clone from an adult cell, said he was "surprised and delighted" to receive a knighthood.

Stuart Rose, who turned around the fortunes of British retailer Marks and Spencer, became Sir Stuart upon receiving a KBE knighthood.

Hong Kong entrepreneur David Tang also received a knighthood, while a CBE went to Richard Bradbury, chief executive of the international fashion house River Island.

There were OBEs for fashion designers Jasper Conran and Karen Millen.

Writer Hanif Kureishi, who penned "The Buddha of Suburbia" and "My Beautiful Laundrette", got a CBE.

Debby Reynolds, the government's former chief vet who led efforts to tackle this year's foot and mouth and bird flu outbreaks, entered the Order of the Bath, an order of chivalry.

In the sports world, England rugby union coach Brian Ashton, who guided the team to the 2007 World Cup final against the odds, got the MBE.

He said he was "honoured and privileged" to receive the award.

Retired former England captain Jason Robinson got an OBE.

World snooker champion John Higgins said he was "stunned" to receive an MBE, calling it "fantastic -- a great thing to have".

In football, Bob Wilson, the former Arsenal and Scotland goalkeeper, was made an OBE.

Former long-distance runner Brendan Foster, who founded the Great North Run, got the CBE.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), received an OBE.

"This is a nice honour for me personally and it is also lovely recognition for the PFA in our centenary year," he said.

Familiar faces from British television to be honoured included chat show king Michael Parkinson (knighthood), sports presenter Des Lynam (OBE) and BBC reporter George Alagiah (OBE).

People who helped with rescue operations during the June floods across England received MBEs.

The awards are given out by the monarch but are chosen by government ministers and officials.

The queen's honours, handed out both at New Year and in June, to mark the monarch's "official" birthday -- distinct from the real event in April -- have their roots in royal orders of chivalry which began in the 14th century.

For centuries a way to reward the great and good of government and officialdom, in recent years more and more awards have been given to sports and showbusiness stars, as well as the worthy in less high-profile roles. ( AFP )