Queen celebrates key workers and national treasures in most diverse Honours list yet

9 October 2020, 22:30 | Updated: 9 October 2020, 22:32

File photo: Hundreds of key workers who spearheaded Britain’s fight against coronavirus have had their heroic efforts recognised
File photo: Hundreds of key workers who spearheaded Britain’s fight against coronavirus have had their heroic efforts recognised. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Hundreds of key workers who spearheaded Britain’s fight against coronavirus have had their heroic efforts recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

This year's list was postponed from June in order to include people, such as medical workers, fundraisers and volunteers, who have been instrumental in the Covid-19 effort.

It celebrates the selfless work of members of the public during the pandemic, which saw delivery drivers drop off food and medicine to vulnerable people and health and care workers put themselves at risk to help their communities and beyond.

Celebrities including Mary Berry, Joe Wicks, Sir David Attenborough and Dizzee Rascal have also been handed gongs in the annual list.

In total, 1,495 honours make up this year's list, with health and social care workers making up 14% while 13% of recipients are from a minority ethnic background, making it the most diverse list after 12% in the New Year Honours last year.

Key workers from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities are recognised for their selfless efforts in the fight against Covid-19, including Felicia Kwaku, 52, associate director of nursing at Kings College NHS Foundation Trust, who is honoured for her services to nursing.

Mary Berry who was made a CBE in 2012, is being made a dame for services to broadcasting, the culinary arts and charity
Mary Berry who was made a CBE in 2012, is being made a dame for services to broadcasting, the culinary arts and charity. Picture: PA

The nurse of 30 years, from Islington, north London, supported BAME nurses by delivering webinars during the pandemic and raised issues surrounding personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly for Filipino nurses.

Miss Kwaku, who is made an OBE, said it is "timely and appropriate" that BAME people are being recognised for their efforts during Black History Month, adding: "You can't ignore the fact people have laid down their lives during this pandemic. It is only right, proper and fitting to honour them and honour those who continue to serve."

Of those who have been honoured, 72% have worked tirelessly for their local community, reflecting the huge voluntary effort across the country in response to Covid-19.

Theodore Wride is the youngest person to be recognised, aged just 16, and is awarded the BEM for service to his community in Sunderland during the pandemic.

This includes 100-year-old Dabirul Islam Choudhury, who is made an OBE after he raised £420,000 for Covid-19 relief while fasting during Ramadan.

He walked 970 laps of his garden in Bow, east London, after being inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, the Second World War veteran who raised £33 million after walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April.

British rapper Dizzee Rascal has been made an MBE
British rapper Dizzee Rascal has been made an MBE. Picture: PA

Mr Choudhury said: "I feel proud they have honoured me for the efforts I have done.

"I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart."

Other everyday heroes include Ali Ghorbangholi, 29, and Professor Mark Wilson, 46, co-founders of the GoodSAM app which has helped mobilise hundreds of thousands of volunteers in support of vulnerable shielded people during lockdown.

Former Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry who was made a CBE in 2012, is being made a dame for services to broadcasting, the culinary arts and charity.

Meanwhile, another national treasure, Sir David Attenborough, receives an upgrade to Knight Grand Cross in the diplomatic list for services to broadcasting and conservation.

For services to music, British rapper Dizzee Rascal has been been made an MBE.

Body coach Mr Wicks is also being made an MBE for helping children keep active and mentally fit during lockdown with his online PE lessons.

Mr Wicks said: "My childhood and how I grew up, if you met me as a little boy you'd have thought 'He's not going to go anywhere, he's not going to do anything great'.

"But I've turned it around and I really am proud I've become this person who's helping people."

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