Daniel O'Donnell honoured

PUBLISHED: 12:42 31 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

HOUSEWIVE'S favourite Daniel O'Donnell has had a Christmas and New Year to remember.

First the Irish singer announced his engagement – now he's been awarded an honorary MBE in recognition of his contribution to entertainment.

HOUSEWIVE'S favourite Daniel O'Donnell has had a Christmas and New Year to remember.

First the Irish singer announced his engagement – now he's been awarded an honorary MBE in recognition of his contribution to entertainment.

The clean-cut star has never taken the UK singles charts by storm but has quietly shifted millions of albums and videos to his devoted fans around the world.

His concerts at the Regent Theatre in Ipswich are legendary with fans queuing round the building to catch a glimpse of their hero.

Born on the rugged coast of County Donegal and still living in the fishing village of Kincasslagh, O'Donnell was Ireland's most eligible bachelor before announcing his engagement to Majella McLennan live on radio on Christmas Day.

The 40-year-old has amassed a fortune since launching his career as a teenager, by carefully targeting his audience and knowing his niche.

From humble beginnings he rose to fame, and his huge record sales have afforded him luxuries including a second home in Tenerife.

O'Donnell has often put his success down to his childhood, once remarking: "I have always felt very fortunate to have been born and brought up on the west coast of Donegal."

Newly knighted Sir Jimmy Young was today sharing his honour as he took to the airwaves as usual for his BBC Radio 2 show.

The Grand Old Man of British broadcasting — and friend of every Prime Minister since Harold Macmillan — gets a knighthood in today's New Year Honours list and vowed to share his award "with over five million listeners".

The evergreen 80-year-old heads a glittering list including pop stars the Bee Gees, actresses Lynn Redgrave and Miriam Margolyes, England and Essex's cricket captain Nasser Hussain, Liverpool's soccer veteran and Scottish international Gary McAllister and world boxing champion Lennox Lewis.

But while the celebrities swamp the headlines, the Prime Minister made clear that it was "ordinary" people and those in public service who were the main focus of the list. Half the awards — 445 — are specifically for voluntary service.

Locally Martin Ashburn, commandant of the Suffolk Special Constabulary, is awarded an MBE. He lives in Woodbridge.

In showbusiness, the three Bee Gee brothers, Barry Gibb, 55, and twins Robin and Maurice Gibb, 52, receive CBEs in the diplomatic list. The Bee Gees are among the most successful groups in pop history.

Lynn Redgrave, 58, one of the famous Redgrave theatrical dynasty, gets an OBE in the diplomatic list. Although often seemingly overshadowed by her elder sister, Vanessa, she has had a distinguished acting career in her own right, most recently in the West End farce, Noises Off.

Ben Kingsley, the actor best remembered for his Oscar-winning role in Gandhi, gets a knighthood for services to drama.

He was born Krishna Bhanji in Yorkshire, but his father told him that if he wanted an acting career he had better get an English name — which he did.

There is a CBE for Lesley Garrett, the down-to-earth opera diva from Yorkshire who spent six years as a poverty-stricken student at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

She has become a household name through her TV appearances, including her own show.

An OBE also goes to pop singer, Sade, who was born Helen Adu, of Anglo-Nigerian descent. She enjoyed huge chart success in the 1980s, but slipped from public view in the 1990s. However, she made her return to the American and British charts in 2000 with her first album in eight years. Her main hits were Smooth Operator and Your Love is King.

The award-winning singer and actress Barbara Dickson, who starred as 1961 pools winner Viv Nicholson in the musical Spend, Spend, Spend, gets an OBE.

There is an OBE for Roy Clarke, creator of the TV hit Last of the Summer Wine, the longest running comedy series in British television. Recent repeats have attracted eight million viewers a time.

England's cricket captain Nasser Hussain expressed his delight at receiving the OBE.

"This is great news,' he said as he prepared for England's second leg of their winter tour, "Everyone knows how much playing for England means to me and I'm very proud to have been honoured by my country in this way.'

There is a CBE for Lennox Lewis, who in November 2001, regained his WBC heavyweight title by defeating Hasim Rahman in Las Vegas having temporarily lost the crown to the same opponent in Johannesburg seven months earlier.

An MBE goes to Gary McAllister, the veteran Liverpool midfielder and former Scotland captain, who was 37 on Christmas Day and Graham Taylor, the former England football manager, said he was "very honoured' to get an OBE.

Margaret Barbour, chairman of the upmarket outdoor clothing specialist, said she was "absolutely delighted and overwhelmed' to become a Dame. The Barbour brand name remains one of the few internationally renowned clothing brands still run from the UK.

There is a KBE in the diplomatic list for Mark Tully, the veteran former BBC correspondent in India, for services to broadcasting and journalism overseas.

An MBE goes to Sue Lloyd-Roberts, a BBC special correspondent, whose reports on the illicit taking and selling of human organs, received widespread acclaim.

The internationally-renowned Sterling Betancourt, 77, one of the most successful pioneers of steel band music in Trinidad and Tobago, gets an MBE.

Graham Taylor, the former England football manager, gets an OBE.

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