Honours for people who have given decades of service

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

There was a time, a few years ago, when it seemed like the honours system was perhaps getting a little too celebrity driven.

Sports winners who had achieved extraordinary things, at the Olympics for example, were getting knighthoods.

Pop stars who had not been around for very many years were also getting honours.

While society must recognise major success in a range of aspects of human endeavour, the honours system should principally reward sustained service to a particular sphere, over and above the commitment of most people.

It is refreshing, therefore, to read today of some people who have been recognised for very long service.

Eamonn Holmes, who began his broadcasting career in Northern Ireland before he won the affections of audiences across the UK, has worked on TV for almost 40 years.

William Wright is in his 90th year, and presides over one of the best manufacturing companies not only in Northern Ireland, but across the UK.

Barry Gibb founded the Bee Gees almost 60 years ago.

There has been some misplaced criticism of Nick Clegg getting a knighthood. The state must recognise someone who held the office of deputy prime minister.

For all these famous names, many hundreds of barely known names have also been honoured today, and such low profile citizens are at the heart of every awards list.