Press release

New Year's Honours 2015

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The New Year Honours lists 2015, published today, recognise the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people across the UK.

Proving that age isn’t a barrier to outstanding accomplishments, a British Empire Medal (BEM) is recommended for 103-year-old runner Fauja Singh. He is a keen charity supporter and champion for Age UK, and is widely recognised as the oldest marathon runner in the world.

In a rare occurrence, 2 family members are recognised for separate activities on the same list: Mairi O’Keefe receives an Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to people with disabilities through her work as Chief Executive Officer of Leuchie House in East Lothian; and her mother, Catriona MacKinnon, receives a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the Gaelic language and culture.

British Empire Medal (BEM)

The reintroduction of the British Empire Medal (BEM) continues to provide the opportunity to recognise a large number of people who are actively engaged in charitable or voluntary work within their local community. Other notable BEMs include Joanne Copsey, Town Pastor volunteer in Bury St Edmunds, who co-ordinates a team of 50 volunteers working with the police to ensure that people can be safe on the streets at night.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Notable MBEs include Jamal Edwards, founder and CEO of youth broadcasting channel SBTV, who has revolutionised the UK music scene and discovered some of the biggest talent, such as Ed Sheeran. Jamal’s videos now receive upwards of 150 million hits and he is an ambassador for MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation.

There is also an MBE for Hazel Geach, who has given over four decades of dedicated service to the scouting movement in Romford, organising events such as the annual St George’s Day parade and guiding and nurturing hundreds of young people.

Also receiving the award is Gbolahan Bright, founder of Bright Futurez (also known as the Bright Academy), through which he provides counselling and mentoring to young people with behavioural problems. As part of the academy’s work, he has opened 2 centres that provide free maths tuition to young people in areas of high deprivation.

In total, 1,164 people have received an award:

  • 1,008 candidates have been selected at BEM, MBE and OBE level (292 at BEM, 473 at MBE and 243 at OBE)
  • 74% of the recipients are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity
  • 6% of the successful candidates come from ethnic minority communities
  • there are 579 successful women candidates in the list, representing 50% of the list
  • 45% of recommendations for senior awards (CBE and above) are for women, compared to 35% of the senior awards at the 2014 Birthday Honours

Women in the New Year Honours 2015

Senior women in this list receiving damehoods (DBEs) include:

  • Mary Plunket-Greene (Mary Quant) for services to British fashion
  • Fiona Woolf, lately Lord Mayor of London
  • Sue Bruce, Chief Executive, City of Edinburgh Council
  • Dianne Thompson, Chief Executive, Camelot
  • Professor Marina Warner, Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, University of Essex
  • Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse and Chief Operating Officer, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Notably, there is a Companion of Honour (CH) for Dame Mary Peters.

Other well-known names in the list include:

  • a damehood (DBE) for the actress Kristin Scott Thomas
  • a knighthood for actor John Hurt
  • a damehood (DBE) for the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
  • a CBE for the actress, comedienne and author Meera Syal
  • a CBE for the writer Ali Smith
  • an OBE for the actress Emily Watson
  • OBEs for the actress Sheridan Smith and the actor James Corden, reuniting siblings Smithy and Smithy from Gavin and Stacey

Children and Young People Care

There is a particular focus in this list on honouring those who help vulnerable children and young people. As a result there are damehoods (DBEs) for:

  • Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline
  • Joyce Plotnikoff, who has revolutionised the way the courts treat child witnesses
  • Oremi Evans, headteacher of the only special school to receive three consecutive ‘outstanding’ Ofsted judgements

Professor Julian Le Grand, whose review of children’s social care at Doncaster Council is now driving innovative practices elsewhere, receives a knighthood.

Among the CBEs are:

  • Kate Lampard, independent overseer of the NHS investigation into Jimmy Saville
  • Professor Bill Whyte, architect of the Scottish Government’s whole system approach to youth justice
  • Virginia Beardshaw, Chief Executive of the I CAN children’s charity.

Eleanor Paterson’s innovative work with young offenders engaged in community reparation projects has inspired many of them to continue volunteering after they have completed their sentences. She receives the MBE.

Alongside these names there are many long-serving volunteers who work with scouts, guides, cadets and a range of other youth organisations in this list.


Philanthropy has once again been a prominent theme amongst the recipients. In particular, the recommendations include knighthoods for:

  • Theodore Agnew, a generous academy school sponsor
  • David Verey, Chair, the Art Fund, who has almost wholly funded the Verey Galley at Eton College, now opened to the public
  • Dickson Poon, a distinguished entrepreneur and ardent supporter of education, in particular through generous support to the University of Oxford

CBEs include:

  • Nicholas Cooper, Chairman, Sterling Insurance Group, a generous philanthropist to the arts and higher education
  • Jonathan Moulds, a dedicated supporter of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO)


The Parliamentary and Political Service Committee, chaired by Lord Spicer, has recommended:

  • a Companion of Honour (CH) for The Rt Hon Lord (Jeremy) Paddy Ashdown
  • a damehood (DBE) for The Rt Hon Anne McGuire, MP for Stirling
  • a KCB for Paul Silk, lately Chair, Commission on Devolution in Wales
  • a knighthood for David Amess, MP for Southend West.
  • There is also a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) for Dr Andrew McDonald for services to Parliament and voluntary service to disability awareness.


In total, about 10% of honours are for work in education. The Education Committee has recommended 30 headteachers in total, including knighthoods and damehoods for 3 headteachers:

  • Kate Dethridge, Principal, Churchend Primary School, Reading
  • Oremi Evans, Headteacher, Brookfield School and Specialist College, Herefordshire
  • John Townsley, Executive Principal, The Gorse Academy Trust, Leeds.


Health makes up 7% of all honours, including 8 nurses at MBE level. In addition to the damehood for Eileen Sills, knighthoods in health include:

  • Professor Norman Williams, President, Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • Dr (Anthony) Sam Everington, Chair, NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Andrew Morris, Chief Executive, Frimley Park Hospital NHS FT
  • Professor Nilesh Samani, Professor of Cardiology, University of Leicester.

Industry and the Economy

Industry and the economy make up 12% of this Honours list. Awards include, Companion of Honour (CH) for:

  • The Rt Hon. Lord David Young
  • Sir (George) Adrian Cadbury.

In addition to the awards to Mary Quant, Dianne Thompson and Fiona Woolf, there is a damehood (DBE) for Fiona Kendrick, Chair and CEO, Nestle UK and Ireland, and a knighthood for Peter Kendall, for services to the agriculture industry in England and Wales.

Committee members were pleased to see a number of strong entrepreneurs nominated and the recommendations include:

  • a CBE for James Caan, Founder and CEO, Hamilton Bradshaw
  • a CBE for Brent Hoberman, for services to entrepreneurship
  • a CBE for Trevor Baylis, Investor and Founder, Trevor Baylis Brands plc
  • an OBE for Julie Deane, Co-owner and Founder, The Cambridge Satchel Company
  • an MBE for Shaa Wasmund, Founder, Smarta
  • an MBE for Richard Moross, CEO and Founder,

Science and Technology

Science and technology make up 3% of the total. The awards include:

  • a Knight Grand Cross (GBE) for Professor Sir John Bell for his services to medicine, medical research and the UK life science industry.
  • a damehood (DBE) for Professor Teresa Rees, Professor of Social Science and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor, Cardiff University
  • a knighthood for Professor Martyn Poliakoff, Research Professor of Chemistry
  • a knighthood for Dr Simon Campbell, Drug Discoverer and Scientific Adviser, who was responsible for the development of Viagra during his time as Senior Vice President for Worldwide Discovery at Pfizer Inc.

Law and Order

In law and order, the awards include:

  • a knighthood for Thomas Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Constabulary
  • a knighthood for Matthew Baggott, lately Chief Constable, Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • a CBE for Cressida Dick, Assistant Commissioner, Met Police
  • CBE for His Honour Judge Brian Barker QC, Recorder of London.

The recommendations for state servants include knighthoods for:

  • David Ramsden, Head of the Government Economic Service
  • Richard Paniguian, Head, Defence and Security Organisation, UK Trade & Investment.


Awards for sport make up 5% of the total. They include:

  • CBE awarded to Steve Cram, lately Chair, English Institute of Sport
  • CBE for Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, who helped deliver the 2014 Commonwealth Games
  • OBE for Jon Doig, Chief Executive, Commonwealth Games Scotland.

There is an OBE for Brendon Batson for services to football. He has been Chair of Sporting Equals since 2010, an ardent supporter of the Show Racism the Red Card campaign and a Kick It Out Ambassador.

There are MBEs for:

  • Rochelle Clark and Sarah Hunter from the England Women’s Rugby Union team
  • Kathrin Richardson-Walsh, Captain of the England and GB Women’s Hockey teams
  • boxer Patrick Barnes (Northern Ireland) and judo athlete Euan Burton (Scotland), who both won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Awards to grass roots sport include a BEM to Shirley Callaghan, who has dedicated over 31 years of voluntary service to the sport of gymnastics at Ladywell Gymnastics Club in London.

It is also important to note the CBEs awarded to Margaret Aspinall and Trevor Hicks from the Hillsborough Family Support Group, both recognised for the significant work they have done on behalf of the bereaved Hillsborough families since the disaster in 1989.

And finally, there are MBEs for Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, responsible for the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation of 888,246 poppies at the Tower of London, one for each British or Colonial military fatality during World War One.

Further information about the New Year Honours 2015

Read the full 2015 New Year Honours list.

Find out more about the honours process.