Joy for awards recipients and their hard won recognition

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The New Year Honours list today recognises scores of people in Northern Ireland and hundreds of others across the UK.

Two of the local names are the sporting greats Harry Gregg and Willie John McBride.

Gregg, a former Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer, and McBride, a former Lions rugby captain, not only played at the highest levels of their sports, they have latterly earned respect as senior figures who spurn celebrity, whom younger sporting folk can admire.

Sport is only a fraction of the fields of life recognised today, from health to volunteering, from education to business, from policing to art. Declan Billington, for example, managing director of John Thompson and sons, gets an MBE for his contribution to economic development in NI.

The sculptor and artist Ross Wilson has been granted a BEM in honour of his work with under privileged children.

Nationally, one of the famous names who leads the long list of honours is the much loved comedian, broadcaster and traveller Michael Palin, who is knighted.

Sir Michael, as he will now be, has delighted millions of viewers over the years with his humour but also helped shine a spotlight on the world, via his globe trotting (once including the train trip to Northern Ireland’s Northwest, which he described as one of the most beautiful on earth).

People across the UK will be delighted today for the various award recipients and their hard won recognition.