Dame Olivia Newton John, Sir Elton John and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody receive New Years Honours

Olivia Newton John is most famous for playing Sandy in the musical Grease
Olivia Newton John is most famous for playing Sandy in the musical Grease
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Olivia Newton-John has told of her pride in her British ancestry as she is made a dame in the New Year Honours.

The singer and actor is being recognised for her services to charity, to cancer research and to entertainment.

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She has had a long and varied career in music and film, but to many fans she will always be Sandy from Grease.

She said: “I am extremely excited, honoured and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me.

“Thank you to the prime minister and the main honours committee for recommending me, and of course Her Majesty the Queen for graciously approving me as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

“As a girl born in Cambridge, I am very proud of my British ancestry and so appreciative to be recognised in this way by the United Kingdom.”

To many others, Newton-John is better known as a leading figure in the fight against cancer as a prominent campaigner for research, having lived with the disease herself for many years.

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The 71-year-old Australian singer and actress, who was born in the UK, immortalised the role of the goody-goody high school student who transforms into a sexy greaser in a bid to win the affections of love interest Danny Zuko, played by John Travolta.

Sir Elton John is also one of a number of stars from the world of showbusiness to be honoured in this year’s prestigious list.

The performer is getting an upgrade to his knighthood, being appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour.

Several other musicians have made the list, including Billy Ocean, 69, born Leslie Sebastian Charles, who is getting an MBE for services to music.

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Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody is made an OBE for services to music and charity in Northern Ireland after he founded the Lightbody Foundation, a group which gives donations to charities across the country.

Michael Prendergast, founding member of Merseybeat group The Searchers, gets an MBE.

Rudolph Walker, who played Patrick Trueman in EastEnders and Bill Reynolds in 1970s sitcom Love Thy Neighbour, gets a CBE for services to drama and charity.