Arise, Sir Bono! It's a beautiful day for the singer who uses his voice to help Africa

He is not a businessman, he's not a leading Labour donor, he's not even a member of the Royal Family. But after 20 years of charity work and lobbying on debt relief, the Irishman will be knighted. By Anthony Barnes

Bono, the global rock star and poverty campaigner, was yesterday given an honorary knighthood in recognition of his tireless humanitarian work.

The U2 lead singer, who has been able to gain the ear of Pope, the US President and other world leaders in his campaign for debt relief for Africa, has been recognised for both his two decades of aid work as well as services to music.

Bono, 46, has devoted huge efforts to seeking the cancellation of African debt, raising Aids awareness and improving human rights.

Receiving news of the honour yesterday, Bono, who was in Dublin with his family in preparation for Christmas, said he was "very flattered".

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was among those to voice praise for the singer yesterday. In a letter to Bono, Mr Blair said he had played an invaluable role in the run-up to last year's G8 summit which had a focus on helping poor nations in Africa. He said: "I know from talking to you how much these causes matter to you. I know as well how knowledgeable you are about the problems we face and how determined you are to do all you can to help overcome them. You have tirelessly used your voice to speak up for Africa."

Mr Blair singled out Bono's efforts to focus attention on the Gleneagles G8 summit in July last year at which reducing African debt was a key issue. Bono had been one of the driving forces behind the Live8 performance just days earlier which was designed to concentrate international attention on the summit, where leaders pledged nearly £30bn a year in aid to reduce worldwide poverty, half of it to be sent to Africa.

It was as a teenager playing the pubs and clubs of Dublin with his fledgling band that Bono became aware of the power of performance in tackling social and political causes. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine he recalled how he had seen the 1981 Amnesty International fundraiser The Secret Policeman's Ball starring John Cleese among many others. "It became a part of me. It sowed a seed," he said.

Earlier this year Bono was a guest editor of The Independent to mark the newspaper's support of the Red ethical campaign through which major companies donate a slice of their revenues to fight disease in Africa. He used the occasion to highlight on the front page the 6,500 people who die each day in Africa from HIV-related illnesses. "It was a blast spending the day in the editor's chair and I'm proud of what we achieved," he said.

Bono, whose real name is Paul Hewson but has used the name Bono Vox since his school days, will not be able to use the title "Sir" as he is not a UK national.

His honour, which followed the news yesterday that Zara Phillips was to be the first royal to receive an honour from the Queen, was announced by the British embassy in Dublin which said: "Her Majesty the Queen has appointed Bono to be an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of his services to the music industry and for his humanitarian work." A formal ceremony, at which he will receive the award from the British ambassador to Ireland, will take place in Dublin "shortly after New Year's Day".

Bono's friend, the musician and fellow campaigner Bob Geldof, was given the same award in 1986 to recognise his organisation of the Live Aid charity concert the previous year to aid famine relief in Ethiopia. Bono performed at that concert and sang on the Band Aid charity hit single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in 1984. In 2003 Bono was presented with the Légion d'Honneur by President Jacques Chirac on behalf of the French government for his contribution to music and his campaigning work. He was also was named the Time Person of the Year 2005.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
filmSony could have made a cult classic
Life and Style
fashionThe essential guide to all the designer Christmas sale dates
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas