New Year Honours: Arise Sir Elton, the Queen's Knight

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The Independent Online
Elton Hercules John (above) is no more. Instead, we must know the man, whose most glorious moment was to sing 'Candle in the Wind' at Diana's funeral, as Sir Elton, no less. Not even Sir Reginald, which is what he would have been if he'd kept his birth name.

The flamboyant rock star, who was appointed a CBE two years ago, expressed his 'immeasurable joy' yesterday, and said it showed an appreciation of all the hard work by everyone connected with the Elton John Aids foundation and other HIV/Aids organisations with which he was associated.

But the centrepiece of what was presented as the Prime Minister's 'people's honours' list was awards for three heads for turning around failing inner- city schools or raising educational standards. Many other awards went to teachers. However, the award of a life peerage for the millionaire publisher Paul Hamlyn is likely to raise eyebrows, since he is said to have donated more than pounds 600,000 to Labour. Mr Hamlyn, however, is also a generous benefactor for charity and the arts, through his Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Photograph: John Gunion

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