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Jenny's joy at earning Birthday Honour

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 16, 2012

  • Jenny Agutter said she was 'thrilled and touched' for her work to be recognised with an OBE for her charity work

  • Former England goalkeeper David James is made an OBE for services to football and charity

  • Honoured: Gareth Malone, Gary Barlow, Kate Winslet and Richard Stilgoe

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Take That star Gary Barlow, actors Kate Winslet and Kenneth Branagh and the designer behind the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress are recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list today.

The list showcases the best of British artistic talent with awards also going to actress Jenny Agutter, who was born in Taunton and spends much of the year at her home in Cornwall, and choirmaster Gareth Malone who led the Military Wives, the partners of Westcountry servicemen, to number one in the charts.

And as Britain prepares for the Olympics, sporting stars are not forgotten, with golf world number one Luke Donald on the list with an MBE as well as former Wales rugby international Shane Williams (MBE) and former England goalkeeper David James (OBE), who lives at Chudleigh in Devon.

Almost 50 people in Devon and Cornwall were recognised in the 2012 birthday honours list which sees the re-introduction of the British Empire Medal (BEM), often described as the working-class gong.

Gary Barlow, who was widely tipped for an honour after his involvement in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, is to receive an OBE for services to the entertainment industry and to charity.

The 41-year-old masterminded and performed in the star-studded Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace and also co-wrote the official song, Sing, which leapt to the top of the charts.

Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet, 36, who achieved worldwide fame for her role in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, receives a CBE for services to drama, 100 years after the sinking of the "unsinkable" ship.

Jenny Agutter, who found fame in the 1970 film The Railway Children and recently starred in the BBC1 drama Call the Midwife, receives an OBE for charitable services. She works with a number of organisations including the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, ovarian cancer charity Ovacome and Action For Children.

The 59-year-old said: "I'm obviously thrilled and touched that people I've been working with from the charities have recommended me – and the fact that it has been taken up."

She said she secretly shared the news with her close family after learning she was likely to be honoured.

"I got the official brown envelope, opened it up and I was very happy to accept," she added.

Jenny is joined by choirmaster Gareth Malone, who also took part in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert with his Military Wives Choir.

Mr Malone, who gets an OBE for services to music, coached the choir to chart success and the coveted Christmas number one.

He said: "This is a great honour and one I'm thrilled about.

"Over the past 10 years, encouraging people to sing has been a labour of love so it's wonderful to be recognised in this way. I am hugely grateful to all the people I have worked with in both television and the arts for helping me to bring music into people's lives."

In a year that sees six per cent of the honours go to people from the arts and media, actor and director Kenneth Branagh is knighted for services to drama and the community in Northern Ireland, alongside Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Michael Boyd for services to drama, and Scottish opera director David McVicar for services to opera.

Knighthoods also go to former Countdown stalwart Richard Stilgoe and Carphone Warehouse founder and chairman Charles Dunstone. Both are recognised for generous donations to good causes.

Sport plays an important role in the honours in the year Britain hosts the Olympics.

Showjumper Nick Skelton, who retired after breaking his neck in 2000 but went on to recover and compete again, gets an OBE for services to equestrian sport.

A CBE goes to Emma Hill, creative director of fashion company Mulberry, for services to the British fashion industry. Her firm is opening a second factory in Somerset to cope with demand.

Picking up MBEs for services to the restoration of Weston-super-Mare pier are brother and sister Kerry and Michelle Michael, who bought the pier in February 2008, only for it to be gutted by fire months later. It has now re-opened after a £51 million investment.

A total of 1,201 people were recommended to the Queen for an award, with 1,064 candidates selected at BEM, MBE and OBE level – while 72 per cent of recipients are involved in charitable or voluntary work in their local community.

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