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Top scientists leading Covid fight recognised in New Year Honours list
31 December 2021, 23:48 | Updated: 1 January 2022, 01:33
Leading scientists and medical experts leading the UK's battle against coronavirus have been recognised in the New Year Honours list.
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England's chief medical officer (CMO), Professor Chris Whitty, deputy CMO, Jonathan Van-Tam, and Wales' and Scotland's CMOs, Frank Atherton and Dr Gregor Smith, have been given knighthoods.
There are also damehoods for UK Health Security Agency chief Dr Jenny Harries, and Dr June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), after a year in which the threat of new variants arose and more than 130 million vaccinations were administered.
The Government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, who was originally knighted in the 2019 New Year Honours list, is elevated to a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Since becoming Secretary of State six months ago I have been hugely impressed by the commitment and sense of public duty that I’ve seen right across the health and care sector.
“It has been a privilege to work with such dedicated professionals who have worked relentlessly throughout the pandemic providing expert advice so we can keep people safe.
“This year the Honours List rightly recognises those whose efforts have helped us deliver world-leading testing and vaccination programmes, and I am deeply grateful for their hard work.”
Also among those being recognised in the Honours list are Global's Kate Garraway, Moira Stuart OBE and Margherita Taylor.
Garraway has been made an MBE for her services to broadcasting, journalism and charity.
Meanwhile, Stuart is receiving a CBE for her services to media and Taylor, who has been part of the Classic FM presenting team for over a decade, will receive an MBE for services to broadcasting and diversity.
Team GB's Olympians and Paralympians who took gold in Tokyo are among those named, including cyclists Jason and Laura Kenny, who are thought to be the first married couple to be recognised on the same honours list.
And teenage tennis sensation Emma Raducanu has added another title after winning the US Open in September, as she can now say she is a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
The Cabinet Office said nearly one in five (19%) of the honours are for Covid-related service.
Scientists have played a central role in keeping the public informed during briefings throughout the year in response to Covid-19 and are being recognised for services to public health and science.
Sir Patrick said: "I am really pleased to see so many outstanding scientists and engineers recognised in this year's honours, including those that have been working tirelessly as part of the response to the Covid-19 pandemic."
And the MHRA chief, Dame June, said: "I am enormously honoured by this recognition of the substantial contribution which the MHRA has made to the nation's response to Covid-19 over the last two years.
"This is thanks to the dedication and commitment of all our talented staff, who work so tirelessly to make sure vaccines, therapeutics and medical devices are safe and effective for people across the UK."
Former Labour MP Frank Field, now a crossbench peer, has been made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for his public and political service.
Lord Field of Birkenhead, 79, told the PA news agency: "I'm very honoured to receive this acknowledgement, it's a terrific privilege considering the honour itself and what it represents.
"Following the work I've done it's a lovely thought from which to conclude this year."
On the list, 15.1% of recipients are from an ethnic minority background, slightly higher than the line-up in June, but just 35.9% of recipients at CBE level and above are women.
It is dominated by sporting figures from the pool to the velodrome, but none of England's Euro 2020 finalists have been included, with the exception of assistant manager Steve Holland.
Raducanu is made an MBE after a fairy-tale 2021, in which the 19-year-old stormed to victory in the US Open in New York in September.
She was the first qualifier ever to win a grand slam tennis tournament and also became the first British woman since Virginia Wade in 1977 to win a grand slam, claiming the prize without dropping a set.
The British number one said: "It makes me immensely proud and grateful to be listed to receive an MBE from Her Majesty the Queen. This year has been full of amazing surprises for me so to end 2021 with this appointment is very special."
Jason Kenny's exploits in Tokyo made him Great Britain's most decorated Olympian and he now has a knighthood to go with his seven gold medals, while his wife, Laura, is made a dame after becoming the most successful British female athlete in Olympic history.
Diver Tom Daley, who won gold in the 10m synchro, will be made an OBE, while his partner, Matty Lee, will be made an MBE.
Strictly Come Dancing star Adam Peaty will be made an OBE and there is an MBE for Tom Dean after both swimmers won Olympic gold.
Seven-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft, who has been made an OBE after winning two golds in wheelchair racing, urged more disabled children to take up sports in school.
In entertainment, Daniel Craig has been given a special diplomatic honour after his final outing as James Bond in No Time To Die.
The departing 007 is made a companion of the Order of St Michael and St George - which is styled CMG and was also conferred on the fictional spy in the film series and Ian Fleming's books.
Actresses Joanna Lumley and Vanessa Redgrave are to be made dames, while James Bond franchise producer Barbara Broccoli will be made a CBE.
Lumley, who is being honoured for services to drama, entertainment and art, said: "I am astonished and thrilled and touched beyond words to receive this colossal honour.
"It comes as a complete and unexpected surprise, and is the kindest and most beautiful present imaginable."
Diversity member Ashley Banjo and former Spice Girl Mel B are both to be made an MBE.
The comedian Adam Hills, who is also to be made an MBE, said: "I am absolutely chuffed to bits to be given this honour. I've already Googled 'Australian comedians who have received honours', 'when can I start writing MBE after my name?' and 'are Australians even eligible for an MBE?'.
"Turns out the answers are 'Barry Humphries and Clive James, 'when you receive the medal' and 'yes'.
"Honestly though, for a boy from the southern suburbs of Sydney, this is quite a massive deal."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "These recipients have inspired and entertained us and given so much to their communities in the UK or in many cases around the world.
"The honours are an opportunity for us to thank them, as a country, for their dedication and outstanding contribution."