New Year Honours 2015: Jonny Wilkinson will not get a knighthood but Steve Cram, Dame Mary Peters and Brendan Batson on list

Speculation had been rife that retired rugby star would become 'Sir Jonny'

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The Independent Online

Former Olympic athletes Steve Cram, Dame Mary Peters and Wendy Sly are among the recipients of awards in the New Year Honours but reports that rugby star Jonny Wilkinson would receive a knighthood have proved groundless.

Cram, the former world champion, 1984 Olympic silver medallist and world record holder at 1,500 metres, is made a CBE in recognition of his recent work as chair of the English Institute of Sport (EIS).

Cram said: "It's really fantastic to have this recognition. A large part of my journey since then has been the EIS and we have put a lot of things in place to give support to our Olympic programmes."

Peters, from Northern Ireland, won gold in the pentathlon at the 1972 Olympics and was made a Dame in 2000. She is now made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to sport and the community in Northern Ireland.

Sly, who won silver in the 3,000m at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, receives an MBE for services to athletics.

Cram.jpg
Steve Cram will receive a CBE

Reports that Wilkinson would become 'Sir Jonny' prompted Sir Bob Kerslake, the outgoing head of the Civil Service, to say he would look into the issue of individuals being wrongly named as receiving honours.

Wilkinson, who retired from rugby this year, appeared to heighten the speculation in a message he posted on Twitter on Monday night.

In other honours, Britain's Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce, from Northern Ireland, receives an OBE for services to football. Boyce, a former Irish Football Association president and current head of Fifa's referees' committee, steps down from the vice-presidency in May.

Boyce, who was severely injured in a Belfast car bomb in 1972, told Press Association Sport: "I would like to dedicate this honour to the people who kept football in Northern Ireland going through the many, many difficult years."

Brendan Batson, the former West Brom defender who was one of the pioneers for black footballers in the 1970s also receives an MBE for services to football. Batson, previously an MBE, worked for the Professional Footballers' Association and more recently has been an adviser to the FA on equality and football development.

Batson said: "When we look at the way things have evolved over the years as a whole I am very pleased with the development of black players but there is still a long way to go to address the lack of representation in coaching, management and governance."

There is an MBE for Crewe's long-serving chairman John Bowler, who took over in 1987 and helped make the club into a fertile developing ground for young talent.

Linvoy Primus, the former Portsmouth defender, receives an MBE for services to football and charity.

Two of the England women's rugby team who beat Canada to win the World Cup in August receive honours. Vice-captain and number eight Sarah Hunter, and prop Rochelle Clark - who is England's second-most-capped player with 95 appearances - both receive MBEs.

Hunter, who also captained England during the Six Nations championships, said: "It's a massive honour to be recognised in this way. As a team we have enjoyed incredible success and I'm so proud to be a part of that."

Clark added: "If you had asked me in 2003 - when I got my first cap - if I would become a world champion and receive an MBE I wouldn't have believed it, but 11 years on it's all happened at once."

Paul Murphy, a past chairman and president of the Rugby Football Union, receives the British Empire Medal.

David Collier, who stepped down as chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board last summer after a successful 10-year spell, receives an OBE.

Boxer Paddy Barnes, twice an Olympic bronze medallist who won gold medals for Northern Ireland at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games, receives an MBE.

There is also an MBE in the diplomatic and overseas list for Mark Wood, who lives in Canada but works as coach for the British skeleton team which has achieved gold medals at the last two minutes.

Kate Richardson-Walsh, the much-decorated captain of the England and Great Britain hockey teams, also receives an MBE. She broke her jaw in the opening match of the London Olympics but after missing two matches returned to inspire the team to the bronze medal.

PA

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