Take that... OBE for Gary Barlow

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POP star Gary Barlow, who played a central role in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and the designer behind the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress are among those recognised in the Birthday Honours list today.

The list, which sees the re-introduction of the “working-class gong”, the British Empire Medal, showcases the best of British artistic talent, with awards also going to actresses Jenny Agutter and Amanda Redman.

Agutter, who found fame in the 1970 film The Railway Children and recently starred in the BBC1 drama Call the Midwife, receives an OBE for charitable services, while Amanda Redman, who starred in police drama New Tricks and founded the Artists’ Theatre School, becomes an MBE.

Barlow, who was widely tipped for an honour after his involvement in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, is to receive an OBE for services to the entertainment industry and to charity.

The 41-year-old masterminded and performed in the star-studded Jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace and also co-wrote the official song, Sing, which leapt to the top of the charts.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and feel very privileged to be in the company of so many brilliant people who I know have received an OBE,” he said.

The 41-year-old musician and songwriter, who shot to fame as part of boy-band Take That, has been behind chart-topping hits such as Patience, Back For Good and Rule The World.

Barlow, from Frodsham in Cheshire, featured in his teens on BBC1’s Pebble Mill At One in a competition to compose a Christmas song, and he went on to perform on the northern club circuit.

His abilities led to manager Nigel Martin-Smith approaching him to front a boy band he was assembling, Take That.

During the group’s first flush of success, in the early 1990s, they achieved eight UK number one and many top 10 singles, many of them written by Barlow.

Following the group’s split in 1996, he initially had huge success but his solo career was eclipsed by that of former bandmate Robbie Williams, who obtained global chart success on his own.

His career was revived when Take That re-formed in 2005, a huge success in the charts and as a live draw.

Barlow, who has collected numerous Ivor Novello songwriting awards, became head judge on The X Factor last year, and has been involved in many other projects such as organising Children In Need concerts and the charity’s 2011 single.

Sarah Burton – who designed the Duchess of Cambridge’s striking gown for the Royal wedding last year – is another home-grown talent to receive a gong. Creative director for fashion house Alexander McQueen, Burton is recognised with an OBE for services to the fashion industry.

Emma Hill, creative director of fashion company Mulberry, becomes a CBE for services to the British fashion industry.

Knighthoods go to former Countdown stalwart Richard Stilgoe and Carphone Warehouse founder and chairman Charles Dunstone. Both men have been recognised for generous donations to good causes. Lord Archer’s wife Dr Mary Archer, a champion of patient care and safety, is to become a Dame.

The Prince of Wales has been awarded the highest rank in all three military services by the Queen.

The Queen appointed Charles honorary five-star rank in all three services to acknowledge his support in her role as Commander-in-Chief. He becomes a Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force in the honorary promotion, which is not related to the honours.

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