David Cameron wanted the 2011 New Year Honours to be the list that recognised those who have supported his "Big Society" idea, either through voluntary work in the community, or philanthropy – and so more than 700 of the 997 people named are being honoured for good works of some kind.
Lord Weidenfeld, the millionaire publisher, has been made a Knight Grand Cross of the British Empire not for his business career but for his support for educational projects such as the Blavatnik School of Government opened in Oxford University earlier this year. Alec Reed, 76-year-old founder of the Reed recruitment agency, is awarded a knighthood as the founder of several charities funded from his self-made fortune.
One of the two MPs honoured, Anne Begg, has a long record of battling for equality, particularly for the disabled, though the knighthood for Tory MP Peter Bottomley falls in the older tradition of rewarding long, loyal service on the government backbenches.
Susan John, headteacher of Lampton School in Hounslow has been made a Dame after her school featured in Ofsted 2099 publication "12 Outstanding Secondary Schools – Excelling Against the Odds".
It is also traditional to make awards to diplomats posted abroad, though this year's list includes a number who are being recognised not for long service but for their handling of unforeseen emergencies. Michael Atsoparthis, honorary consul in Kyrgyzstan, and Christopher Duff and Joel Harri, of Crosslink International, have been appointed MBEs for helping to evacuate British expatriates during the riots in that country. John Kenyon, honorary consul in Puerto Montt, in Chile, is similarly honoured for helping British citizens after the Chilean earthquake.
There are MBEs for Julia Stamper, who launched the Schoolgirl Mum's Unit, which has supported hundreds of teenage parents as they complete their education; for Grahame Pickering, head of the Great North Air Ambulance Service, a charity for people seriously injured on the roads and in inaccessible places such as the Cumbrian mountains; and for Caroline Ingram, chair of the trustees of the Victoria Climbie Trust, for her part in setting up a school in the Ivory Coast in memory of the eight-year-old Ivorian girl murdered by her guardians in 2000.
Paul Anderson, who runs the Luton Carnival Arts Development Trust, which has built up the Luton Carnival into an attraction that draws crowds of more than 140,000, is also made an MBE.
As usual, there is a long list of awards to "local heroes" who have done sterling work in the community, such as Dr Marjorie Ziff, appointed an MBE for 60 years of charitable giving in Leeds. There were also MBEs for Douglas and Glynnis Lee, co-founders of the Stonebridge Adventure Playground and Brent Play Association and for the philanthropist Ratilal Devchand Shah, for his work in building bridges between people of different faiths.
Kathleen White, who at 83 is one of Britain's oldest sub-postmistresses, has received an MBE for the 68 years she has worked at Claverley Post Office, Wolverhampton, including 50 as sub-postmistress.
Business: Awards for all from boardroom to shop floor
Richard Lambert, the outgoing director of the Confederation of British Industry, was knighted for his skill in lobbying for UK business during the banking crisis. The British Airways chairman, Martin Broughton, also received a knighthood for being "an outstanding business leader".
But Roger Carr's former employees at the Cadbury plant near Birmingham will probably not raise a glass on seeing his name at the top of the list of nearly 140 people honoured for contributing to the economy. Downing Street insisted yesterday that the award was for Sir Roger's career as one of Britain's leading businessmen, including his service as a Bank of England director.
Mike Oglesby, chairman of the commercial property company Bruntwood Group, was appointed a CBE, while Margaret and Mark Constantine, who founded Lush Cosmetics, were created OBEs.
There was also recognition for unsung heroes, including John Mackay, who has delivered mail in Caithness for 43 years, and Anne Buckingham, a beekeeper from Farnham, Surrey, who were appointed MBEs.
The Arts: 'Hunger' director is made CBE for services to film
The Turner Prize-winning artist Steve McQueen, who has been appointed a CBE, has never been afraid to tackle difficult subjects.
After a stint as an official war artist in Iraq in 2006, he presented Queen And Country, commemorating the deaths of British soldiers by presenting their portraits as a sheet of postage stamps. The west Londoner, 41, then moved from the contemporary art scene to the film industry.
His Bafta-nominated 2008 film Hunger, detailing the story of IRA hunger-strikers in the 1980s, was a critical hit at home and abroad. McQueen, who trained at Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmith's College in London, first came to prominence in 1999 after winning the Turner Prize. He went on to represent Britain at the 2009 Venice Biennale.
Lady Antonia Fraser, 78, was created a Dame for services to literature. One of eight children of the campaigner and politician Lord Longford, she recently published her account of her 34-year love affair and marriage to playwright Harold Pinter.
Must You Go? is the latest in a long line of bestsellers which started in 1969 with her biography of Mary, Queen of Scots, and has included crime novels and short stories. A spokeswoman for Lady Antonia, who has six children and 18 grandchildren, said she was "very pleased and very surprised" by the honour.
Fashion: Radical designer becomes part of the establishment
Head of the fashion honours list was Katharine Hamnett, whose stark slogans plastered across casual clothing caught the imagination of a generation disillusioned with Margaret Thatcher's Britain in the 1980s.
Beatrix Ong, whose classical but whimsical shoes have seen her ranked alongside Manolo Blahnik and her former employer Jimmy Choo as a leading contemporary footwear designer was made an MBE.
A relative newcomer, Ong launched her eponymous line in 2002 from a house she shared in London before taking a position as Choo's creative director of couture at the age of 22. Her brand did not take long to become established.
Designer Alice Temperley is also made MBE. Synonymous with glamour and elegance, she counts among her fans actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Sienna Miller and Prince William's fiancée Kate Middleton.
Since the opening of her first Temperley boutique in Notting Hill, west London, in 2002, she has expanded with further stores in New York, Los Angeles and Dubai and become known for her mix of uptown elegance and contemporary classics.
Meanwhile a woman who favours film sets over catwalks was recognised with an OBE for services to the film industry. Sandy Powell, 50, also a Londoner, insisted she was "feeling greedy" when she was awarded her third Oscar, for The Young Victoria, earlier this year. She described her chosen profession as "hard work and unglamorous most of the time and very often boring".
Raymond Kelvin, a veteran of the business for 35 years, who founded Ted Baker multimillion-pound global franchise in 1988, was made a CBE while Tanya Sarne, the designer behind the fashion label Ghost, was made an OBE.
Media: Veteran newsman wins praise for Afghan aid
The veteran journalist Sandy Gall said he was "very honoured" to be appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) for his charity work in Afghanistan.
The former ITN newsreader, 83, reported from the country in the early 1980s. He also covered conflicts in Vietnam, Cambodia, China, the Middle East and Africa.
In 1986, he founded Sandy Gall's Afghanistan Appeal, which has provided artificial limbs and walking aids for more than 20,000 people and physiotherapy for nearly 50,000. Mr Gall said: "I am very proud, not just on my behalf, but on behalf of all the family and my wife and daughter Fiona, who has worked for several years in Kabul and Afghanistan."
Mark Damazer, who stood down from his position as controller of Radio 4 earlier this year to become Master of St Peter's College, Oxford, was created a CBE for services to broadcasting, as was John Lloyd, a television and radio producer and writer who worked on The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Not The Nine O'Clock News, Spitting Image and Blackadder.
Sport: Wheelchair rugby pioneer among sporting stars rewarded
Paul Davies once summed up wheelchair rugby as "chess with violence". Yesterday, he was appointed an MBE for pioneering the game and helping to elevate it to Paralympic status.
Mr Davies took up the sport in 1982, six years after breaking his neck when a scrum collapsed as he played conventional rugby for the Army. After a decade as a successful international sportsman, he became manager of the Great Britain wheelchair rugby team. He described the moment he led them out at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 as his career highlight and an "awesome experience".
The Welshman was one of several lesser-known names honoured for their sporting achievements.
Aslie Pitter, 50, the founder of the first gay men's football team, said he was overjoyed at being created an MBE. As the London-based Stonewall FC prepares to celebrate its 20th year tackling homophobia in sport, Mr Pitter said: "I just feel so honoured today, although it is recognition for everybody in the club that we're helping people to fulfil their potential."
Meanwhile, Graeme McDowell, the Ryder Cup-winning golfer from Country Antrim, was appointed an MBE after a sensational year which saw the 31-year-old become the first European winner of the US Open since 1970.
Howard Webb, 39, a police sergeant from South Yorkshire, was also created an MBE. He was the first Englishman to referee a World Cup final since 1974, handing out 14 yellow cards during the stormy match in South Africa which saw Spain beat Holland.
The England rugby player Mike Catt, 39, who retired in May having won 75 caps, was appointed an OBE and judo expert George Kerr, 73, was created a CBE.
The same honour was also bestowed upon Joe Brown, 80, nicknamed the "human fly" for his rock-climbing exploits.
Music: Annie Lennox recognised for work fighting poverty
Annie Lennox, the Scottish-born 1980s singer, has been appointed an OBE for her work fighting Aids and poverty in Africa.
Lennox has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide as a singer with the Eurythmics and as a solo star, but now splits her time between music and her work as a global ambassador for Oxfam.
Three years ago, she was inspired by Nelson Mandela, to launch a charity single, "SING", featuring 23 female vocalists, to raise awareness of the impact of HIV and Aids, particularly on women in South Africa.
Seeing the impact of the disease inspired her to write the song "Universal Child", which she included in her current album A Christmas Cornucopia, a compilation of carols that she learnt during her days growing up in Aberdeen.
Vernon Ellis, international chairman of the consultancy firm, Accenture, has been knighted for services to music. Through a family trust, Sir Vernon provided the money which enabled the English National Opera to restore the Coliseum Theatre in central London, and has chaired the ENO for the past five years.
The Durham-born record producer Trevor Horn, 61, who has worked with everyone from Paul McCartney to Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and the composer Howard Goodall, 52, who created the theme tunes for TV shows including Blackadder and Mr Bean were both appointed CBEs.
Two other veteran songwriters have been appointed OBEs for their contributions to music – Richard Thompson, 61, who was the driving force behind the 1960s folk-rock group Fairport Convention, and Herbert Kretzmer, 85, the South African-born former Daily Express and Daily Mail journalist who wrote the lyrics for the hit West End musical Les Misérables.
Drama: Gongs for stalwarts of the stage and screen
David Suchet is probably best known to the public as Inspector Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie, whom he has portrayed in a dozen films. But this is only one part of a long acting career which has now seen him appointed a CBE.
The 64-year-old son of Jewish immigrants from South Africa began his acting career in a local theatre in Berkshire and made his first television appearance 40 years ago. The real life heroes and villains he has played include Cardinal Wolsey and the former press baron Robert Maxwell.
Sheila Hancock, 77, who is also appointed a CBE, has enjoyed an even longer acting career, which began in repertoire in the 1950s and has ranged intellectually from Shakespeare to the Carry On films. She has also been a guest on the BBC Radio 4 show Just a Minute.
Born on the Isle of Wight, she was married for 26 years to the actor John Thaw, star of the Inspector Morse television series. After his death from cancer, she wrote a best selling book about their marriage. She also recorded a comedy single "My Last Cigarette" as a warning against the addictiveness of tobacco.
Harriet Walter, who is made a Dame, is one of Britain's leading stage actresses who has appeared in numerous Royal Shakespeare Company productions over the past 30 years. Though she is highly respected in the acting profession, she is perhaps less well known to the public than her uncle, Christopher Lee, star of several Dracula movies.
Burt Kwouk, 80, who was brought up in Shanghai but moved to Britain in his teens, is best known as the put-upon Cato in the Pink Panther films. Latterly, he has appeared in the BBC series Last of the Summer Wine. He is appointed an OBE for the way he has "helped pave the way for other actors from the Chinese community".