Actors, bankers and cricketers shine in UK honours

Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:01pm EDT

Related Topics

* Twice-yearly list of awards for public service

* Bank of England governor among recipients

By Tim Castle

LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - "King's Speech" actor Colin Firth and Bank of England governor Mervyn King were among a host of entertainers, business people and sports stars awarded honours by Britain's Queen Elizabeth on Saturday.

A total of 965 people were on the twice-yearly honours list, which recognises achievements in all walks of British life, from the rich and famous to community workers.

Oscar winner Firth, who won a best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of the stammering King George VI, the queen's father, was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

The 50-year-old has become an international favourite since making his acting breakthrough playing the aloof Mr Darcy in a 1995 television adaptation of the Jane Austen novel "Pride and Prejudice".

Central bank chief King, who helped pilot Britain's economy through the upheavals caused by the global financial crisis, received a knighthood, one of the highest honours.

The award will be a welcome distraction for the governor as the Bank of England comes under fire for leaving interest rates on hold while inflation is running at more than double its 2 percent target.

There were also awards for South African-born actress Janet Suzman, who becomes a "dame", and for Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry, who received a CBE.

Long-serving light entertainment star Bruce Forsyth, 83, picked up a knighthood, while comic actors Bernard Cribbins, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Graeme Garden were all made Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

There was a CBE for media lawyer Mark Stephens, currently defending WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange over a Swedish request for his extradition in a case of alleged sexual misconduct.

In the world of sport, England cricket captain Andrew Strauss was awarded an OBE after leading the national side to two Ashes series victories over Australia, home and away.

Fellow England cricketer Alastair Cook, a prolific scorer during the recent series against Australia and in the current series against Sri Lanka, won a lesser award, an MBE, while there was a knighthood for horse trainer Henry Cecil.

Golfer Lee Westwood, until last month ranked the world number one, was awarded an OBE. There were MBEs for world heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis and triple-jumper Phillips Idowu, both hoping for medal success in next year's London Olympics.

There were also awards for bankers and business leaders. Knighthoods went to John Peace, chairman of Standard Chartered bank (STAN.L), Frank Chapman, chief executive of gas and oil producer BG Group (BG.L), and to Brian Souter, chief executive of transport firm Stagecoach (SGC.L).

JP Morgan Cazenove CAZ.UL Chairman David Mayhew, regarded as the best-connected banker in London, won a CBE, as did London Stock Exchange (LSE.L) Chairman Chris Gibson-Smith and Justin King, chief executive of supermarket J Sainsbury (SBRY.L). (Editing by Andrew Roche)

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