It proved a fitting end to the year for those at the helm of Hull’s year in the spotlight, as a contingent of civil and creative leaders who delivered the UK City of Culture programme were named on The Queen’s New Year Honours list.
Among those recognised is Hull City Council leader Stephen Brady, who receives an OBE, and he is joined on the list by the former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is to be knighted for political and public service.
Early reports that Mr Clegg, 50, who lost his seat as Lib Dem MP for Sheffield Hallam in June, was in line for a knighthood were met with criticism by some Leave campaigners as he remains a vocal critic of Brexit.
But beyond politics, a broad array of contributions to society are acknowledged by The Queen with more than 80 people in Yorkshire nominated to receive honours from The Queen at Buckingham Palace in the new year.
There will be a strong contingent from East Yorkshire at the investitures.
Mr Brady is one of five city and cultural leaders involved in the Hull’s City of Culture year who is set to be honoured, including programme manager at the council, Jonathan Peter Pywell.
Mr Brady, whose OBE is for services to local government and in recognition of his leadership role during a special 12 months for the city, spoke of his pride, saying: “These awards are, without doubt, recognition for the people of Hull and all that the city has achieved in the past few years. To receive them as Hull’s main year as UK City of Culture draws to a close is particularly special.
“The events and changes we’ve experienced in the build up to and during 2017 are the culmination of a collective endeavour that has changed the city in ways that few of us could ever have imagined.”
An OBE for services to culture in the city is awarded to the chairwoman of Hull City of Culture, Rosie Millard and to executive director Fran Elizabeth Hegyi, whilst chief executive and director Martin Green receives a CBE for services to the arts.
In a joint statement, they said: “These awards recognise a city going through a remarkable transformation and shows how much can be achieved when a city comes together to make something great happen.
“The response to the year has exceeded all our expectations and we look forward to Hull continuing to shine brightly on the national stage.”
Other notable names from the region on The Queen’s list include Eric Harrison, the former Halifax Town player who became a celebrated youth team coach at Manchester United.
Credited with nurturing the so-called Class of ’92 and the likes of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers, Mr Harrison, who is now battling dementia, will receive an MBE for services to football.
Author and journalist Jilly Cooper, who grew up in Ilkley, will receive a CBE for services to literature and charity, while Shefield-born Helen Sharman, who became the first Briton to journey into space in 1991, is awarded an OBE for services to science and technology educational outreach.
Hull-born Mark Robinson, coach of the England women’s cricket team and a former bowler for Yorkshire, receives an OBE for services to cricket, and an OBE for services to the arts goes to East Yorkshire-based writer and director Dr John Godber who was born near Pontefract. Dr Godber has served as the artistic director of Hull Truck Theatre Company and is currently creative director of Wakefield’s Theatre Royal.
AWARDS FOR CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY
Distinguished members of the region’s business community have been recognised for their contributions by The Queen.
Among them is Tim Rix, managing director of JR Rix and Sons in Hull, one of Yorkshire’s largest family-owned businesses with a £348m turnover. Mr Rix is awarded a CBE for services to the economy and regeneration in the Humber region.
Debbie Heald, MD of Heald Ltd in Hornsea, receives an MBE for services to exports and promotion of careers in science, technology, engineering and maths for women.
Heald employs 40 people at its factory on the Yorkshire coast and designs, manufactures and installs barriers and road blockers which aim to prevent targeted terrorist attacks.