'Happy Goodyear' tops populist selection

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The Independent Online
New Year honours are bestowed today on the former Coronation Street actress Julie Goodyear, the agony aunt Clare Rayner and the Liverpool footballer Ian Rush in one of the most populist selections in memory.

Ms Goodyear, who recently resigned as landlady of the Rovers Return, was celebrating her appointment as an MBE with pink champagne yesterday at her local hotel near Rochdale, after arriving in a gold Rolls-Royce and buying drinks for the house. "This is one of the most memorable and proudest moments of my life," she said. "I am a very happy Goodyear."

Rush, 34, one of 10 children from Flint, North Wales, said of his MBE: "It's a great feeling for both myself and my family ... It's a great start to the new year ... This gives me an extra boost and incentive."

Colleagues from the world of sport who also receive awards include Shaun Edwards, the England rugby league captain (OBE), Jonathan Edwards, the world triple-jump record-holder who will receive an MBE, and Bernard Gallacher, the golfer, also appointed an OBE. "It's been a tremendous year for me, the team and European golf in general, and I'd like to think this honour reflects that," he said. Beryl Cook, famous for her paintings of fat ladies in stockings, is appointed an OBE; Clare Rayner gets an MBE and the pop singer Elton John becomes a CBE.

Chris Bonington, 61, the mountaineer, is given a knighthood, as is the impresario Cameron Mackintosh and Stanley Kalms, head of the Dixons store chain. "I'm delighted, he who waits gets his reward," said Sir Stanley, 64, who started work at 16 when he took charge of his father's photographic shop in London. "This gives me new energy to carry on."

The armed forces are acknowledged, with a knighthood for Lt-Gen Rupert Smith, the former United Nations commander in Bosnia, and a host of awards for organisers of VE Day celebrations in May.

According to Downing Street, 40 per cent of the list was nominated by the public across all levels from MBEs to knighthoods, and 400 awards were made specifically for voluntary work. One-third of the awards have been given to women.