Coronavirus: Key workers receive honours in Queen’s birthday list

Fourteen per cent of list comprises of health and social care workers who worked tirelessly through pandemic

Queen's Birthday Honours: Celebrity highlights

Key workers dominate the Queen’s birthday honours this year, alongside famous faces such as Marcus Rashford, Dizzee Rascal and Joe Wicks.

The list was due to be announced in June, but was postponed to include essential workers such as medics, fundraisers and volunteers, who have been instrumental in the fight against Covid-19.

There are 1,495 honours on this year’s list, with health and social care workers making up 14 per cent of recipients. Thirteen per cent of recipients are from a minority ethnic background, making it the most diverse list after last year’s new year honours, of which 12 per cent were from a minority ethnic background.

According to the Cabinet Office, this year’s list is the first to have 11 per cent of recipients aged under 30. The youngest person on the list is 16-year-old Theodore Wride, who is awarded a BEM for service to his community in Sunderland amid the pandemic.

The list also includes 740 women, which represents 49 per cent of the total. This is lower than the 50.7 per cent seen in the new years honours list last year, while 6 per cent of people being honoured considered themselves to have a disability.

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, said: “This year’s honours recipients are a testament to the sort of country we are – caring, compassionate and resolute in the face of a global pandemic. The hard work and dedication of these local, often unsung heroes has helped carry us through. I congratulate them all.”

Key workers from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are honoured in the list for their selfless efforts in keeping Britain safe, including Felicia Kwaku, associate director of nursing at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Ms Kwaku is made an OBE for her services to nursing, having been in the profession for 30 years. She is from Islington, north London, and supported black and minority ethnic nurses by delivering webinars during the pandemic and raised issues surrounding personal protective equipment, particularly for Filipino nurses.

She said it is “timely and appropriate” that black and minority ethnic people are being recognised for their efforts during Black History Month, adding: “You can’t ignore the fact people have laid down their lives during this pandemic.

“It is only right, proper and fitting to honour them and honour those who continue to serve.”

Seventy-two per cent of those on the honours list have worked tirelessly for their local community, reflecting the huge voluntary effort across the country during the pandemic.

Dabirul Islam Choudhury, 100,  is made an OBE after he raised £420,000 for Covid-19 relief while fasting during Ramadan.

Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, Mr Choudhury walked 970 laps of his garden in Bow, east London. Sir Tom is the Second World War veteran who raised an astounding £33 million after walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April.

Mr Choudhury said: “I feel proud they have honoured me for the efforts I have done. I thank everybody from the bottom of my heart.”

Other everyday heroes include Ali Ghorbangholi, 29, and Professor Mark Wilson, 46, co-founders of the GoodSAM app that helped mobilise hundreds or thousands of volunteers in support of vulnerable people who were shielding at the height of lockdown.

Several experts working in the science, health and pharmaceutical fields have also been recognised for their efforts, including Professor Stephen Holgate from the University of Southampton, Emma Walmsley of GlaxoSmithKline and Tim Spector from King’s College London.

Prof Holgate, a Medical Research Council clinical professor of immunopharmacology, is knighted for services to medical research.

Ms Walmsley, chief executive of GSK, becomes a dame. She said: “I’m humbled to receive this honour. It is a real testament to the many outstanding people we have at GSK and the work we do for patients and people here in the UK and around the world.”

Mr Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology and lead of the Covid Symptom Study app, is made an OBE.

Reporting by PA

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