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New Year’s Honours: OBE for actress battling cancer

Lynda Bellingham

Lynda Bellingham

 

Actress Lynda Bellingham ended a ‘tough year’ with good news as she headed a list of famous faces honoured by the Queen.

The Loose Women panellist, made an OBE for voluntary service to charitable giving in the UK in the New Year’s Honours, announced earlier this year she had been diagnosed with cancer.

But after being honoured by the Queen today, she said: “I am absolutely delighted and proud to receive this OBE.”

Other top names recognised in the awards include singer Katherine Jenkins, presenter Nicholas Parsons and actor Michael Crawford.

Miss Bellingham had been due to appear in Sheffield Theatres’ production of A Passionate Woman earlier this year.

It was due to open at the city’s Lyceum Theatre in September, before embarking on a national tour, but was postponed due to her illness.

The 65-year-old said: “It has been a long and tough year, but the OBE award is just a fantastic way to move forward.

“I feel honoured and inspired and very grateful.”

Bellingham’s career highlights include TV series All Creatures Great And Small and starring in the stage production of Calendar Girls.

Miss Bellingham, whose sister Barbara died from lung cancer, has been a high-profile supporter of Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Mezzo-soprano Miss Jenkins is also made an officer of the British Empire, for services to charity and contribution to music.

The 33-year-old said: “I am incredibly humbled to receive this great honour. I share this award with the charitable bodies I am so privileged to work with, especially to those brave servicemen and women who risk so much for us all on a daily basis.”

Actress Penelope Keith, who became a household name as Margot Leadbetter in 1970s’ sitcom The Good Life, becomes a dame for services to the arts and to charity, as does Murder, She Wrote actress Angela Lansbury, honoured in the Diplomatic and Overseas List for her services to drama and to charitable work and philanthropy. Sculptor Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North, is knighted for services to the arts.

Elsewhere, Gavin And Stacey co-writer Ruth Jones, Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud and DJ Pete Tong are all made MBEs, while Mr Crawford, who played Frank Spencer in 1970s’ sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, and Mr Parsons, presenter of shows such as Sale of the Century, become CBEs.

Mr Parsons, aged 90, said: “I’m flattered and I’m delighted. I think honours are a wonderful thing to receive if you have worked hard and that is recognised.”

Sandi Toksvig, who presents BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, said she was ‘honoured’ to be recognised with an OBE for her services to broadcasting.

The Danish-born star said: “Broadcasting is a team effort and I would like to pay tribute to all the writers, production and technical staff I’ve worked with.”

The doctor who oversaw the safe delivery of Prince George is also recognised by the Queen in the Honours List.

Sir Marcus Setchell, who was the Queen’s gynaecologist for two decades and who delayed his retirement after being asked by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to oversee the birth of the third in line to the throne, is made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order – an honour in the personal gift of the Queen.

The 70-year-old looked after Kate when she was taken to hospital with severe morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy, and previously helped save the life of the Countess of Wessex in 2003 when she was eight months pregnant with elder child Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor.

 

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