Barlow and Winslet top honours list

X Factor judge and Take That member Gary Barlow has became an Officer of the British Empire (OBE).
X Factor judge and Take That member Gary Barlow has became an Officer of the British Empire (OBE). Photo: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Take That star Gary Barlow, actors Kate Winslet and Kenneth Branagh and the designer behind the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress are recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list today.

Branagh's knighthood left his heart "fit to burst" while Winslet said her CBE made her "very proud to be a Brit".

English actress Amanda Redman receives an MBE.
English actress Amanda Redman receives an MBE. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The list, which sees the revival of the "working-class gong", showcases the best of British talent, with awards also going to actresses Jenny Agutter and Amanda Redman.

TV choirmaster Gareth Malone has been honoured by the Queen.
TV choirmaster Gareth Malone has been honoured by the Queen. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Chart-topping choirmaster Gareth Malone is to receive an OBE.

English golfer and world number one Luke Donald has been honoured with a Member of the British Empire (MBE).
English golfer and world number one Luke Donald has been honoured with a Member of the British Empire (MBE). Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

As Britain prepares for the Olympics, sporting stars are not forgotten, with gongs for golf world number one Luke Donald as well as former Wales rugby international Shane Williams and former England goalkeeper David James.

The 2012 birthday honours list sees the re-introduction of "working-class gong" the British Empire Medal (BEM), revived by David Cameron in a reversal of John Major's decision to scrap it in 1991.

Its return has allowed the honours system to step up its recognition of "hands-on" service to local communities and the Big Society, the head of the Civil Service said.

Essentially, what we are trying to do is recognise people who have made a real contribution to their communities and to society.

What the reintroduction of the BEM has done is help us extend the reach of the honours system by rewarding hands-on service to local communities.

– Sir Bob Kerslake, chair of the main honours committee

Some 293 people are given BEMs, including road sweeper Anthony Cleland, 62, for services to his community after 25 years cleaning the streets of Lambeth, south London.

The grandfather-of-three from Stockwell said: "I am very proud and I think it's great that the BEM has been brought back, it shows that ordinary people deserve to be recognised as well."

Gary Barlow masterminded the triumphant diamond jubilee concert for the Queen at Buckingham Palace earlier this month.
Gary Barlow masterminded the triumphant diamond jubilee concert for the Queen at Buckingham Palace earlier this month. Credit: : Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Barlow's OBE for services to the entertainment industry and to charity comes just days after he masterminded the triumphant diamond jubilee concert for the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The 41-year-old is also at number one with his Jubilee anthem Sing and appears to have become the "go to" pop star for royal occasions.

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.Growing up, I never dreamt that one day I'd be getting one myself. I enjoy every minute of the work I do, with a lot of it being a reward in itself, so for somebody to decide I should get recognised for that is just amazing.

– Gary Barlow
The actress became a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List published today.
The actress became a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List published today. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Oscar-winning actress Winslet, 36, who achieved worldwide fame for her role in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic, receives a CBE for services to drama, 100 years after the sinking of the "unsinkable" ship.

She said she was surprised and honoured, adding: "I feel deeply proud to receive this, as a part of an ever-expanding community of British actors and film-makers who are fortunate enough to be able to contribute to an international industry. This makes me very proud to be a Brit."

Sarah Burton designed the Duchess of Cambridge's striking gown for the royal wedding last year.
Sarah Burton designed the Duchess of Cambridge's striking gown for the royal wedding last year. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Creative director for fashion house Alexander McQueen Sarah Burton - who designed the Duchess of Cambridge's striking gown for the royal wedding last year - gets an OBE for services to the fashion industry.

Sarah Burton, the designer of the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, became an Officer of the British Empire (OBE).
The Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, designed by Sarah Burton. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire/Press Association Images

In another royal link, Helen Asprey, personal private secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, is made Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, an honour bestowed by the Queen.

Actor and director Kenneth Branagh has received a knighthood from the Queen.
Actor and director Kenneth Branagh has received a knighthood from the Queen. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Belfast-born Hollywood star Branagh joins the ranks of the great acting knights.

The Oscar-nominated actor, director and screenwriter, recognised for services to drama and to the community of Northern Ireland, said:

I feel humble, elated and incredibly lucky. When I was a kid I dreamed of pulling on a shirt for the Northern Ireland football team.

I could only imagine how proud you might feel. Today it feels like they just gave me the shirt and my heart's fit to burst.

– Kenneth Branagh

Knighthoods also go to Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Michael Boyd and Scottish opera director David McVicar, as well as songwriter and lyricist Richard Stilgoe and Carphone Warehouse founder and chairman Charles Dunstone.

Songwriter and lyricist Richard Stilgoe has been honoured for his ongoing philanthropic work.
Songwriter and lyricist Richard Stilgoe has been honoured for his ongoing philanthropic work. Credit: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

Stilgoe, who made his name for the clever ditties he composed on BBC1 shows Nationwide and That's Life, said he was "astonished and thrilled".

The 69-year-old has been honoured for his ongoing philanthropic work, which has seen him give away millions to good causes and even donate his former home to an organisation he founded.

Choirmaster Malone, who also took part in the diamond jubilee concert with his Military Wives Choir, was thrilled to be given an OBE - and said he was indebted to his long-suffering parents for putting up with his hours of piano practice.

He said: "It is extra special to receive an OBE during the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations, having just performed at the Jubilee concert. What a year."

Lord Archer's wife Dr Mary Archer is to become a Dame.
Lord Archer's wife Dr Mary Archer is to become a Dame. Credit: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Lord Archer's wife Dr Mary Archer, a champion of patient care and safety, is to become a Dame, along with Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the aquatics centre at the Olympics Park, as well as former Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, for service in support of the Olympics.

Television actress Jenny Agutter became an Officer of the British Empire (OBE).
Television actress Jenny Agutter became an Officer of the British Empire (OBE). Credit: Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Actress Agutter said she was "thrilled and touched" to be recognised for her charitable work with an OBE.

The 59-year-old has been a much-loved figure on screen for more than 40 years, making unforgettable appearances in films such as The Railway Children.

Agutter, who plays Sister Julienne in Call the Midwife, explains her delight at receiving the honour:

Fellow actress Redman, who starred in police drama New Tricks and founded the Artists Theatre School, receives an MBE, while novelist Susan Hill - author of The Woman in Black - said her CBE meant she had "caught up" with her husband, who was given the same honour five years ago.

A CBE also goes to Emma Hill, creative director of fashion company Mulberry, for services to the British Fashion Industry.

Sport plays an important role in the honours in the year Britain hosts the Olympics.Golfing world number one Donald, currently competing in the US Open, said he was "truly honoured" by his MBE for services to the sport.

Welsh rugby union player Shane Williams became a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List published today.
Welsh rugby union player Shane Williams became a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List published today. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The gong also goes to former Wales rugby player Shane Williams for services to rugby and former England goalkeeper David James for services to football and charity.

Former England footballer David James has been honoured with a Member of the British Empire (MBE).
Former England footballer David James has been honoured with a Member of the British Empire (MBE). Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Showjumper Nick Skelton, who retired after breaking his neck in 2000 but went on to recover and compete again, gets an OBE for services to equestrian sport.

A CBE goes to former professional footballer Paul Elliott, a champion of football's anti-racism movement.
A CBE goes to former professional footballer Paul Elliott, a champion of football's anti-racism movement. Credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

A CBE goes to former professional footballer Paul Elliott, a champion of football's anti-racism movement.

Those behind the organisation of the 2012 games are recognised for their efforts, with honours going to several members of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

In the media, former Spectator editor Alexander Chancellor is awarded a CBE for services to journalism while comic Armando Iannucci said his OBE for services to broadcasting will not stop him poking fun at politicians.

The 48-year-old, the man behind famously foul-mouthed Westminster sitcom The Thick Of It, said: "I just hope it's not an attempt by the Government to stop me, because that's not going to happen."

Actress and campaigner April Ashley, 77, is to receive an MBE.
Actress and campaigner April Ashley, 77, is to receive an MBE. Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Actress and campaigner April Ashley, 77, is to receive an MBE for services to transgender equality. Born a boy, the 77-year-old became the first Briton to undergo a sex change operation in Casablanca in 1960.

Lady Meyer receives an CBE.
Lady Meyer receives an CBE. Credit: Michael Stephens/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Lady Meyer, wife of former British Ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer, receives a CBE for services to children and families.

She founded charity Parents and Abducted Children Together after an almost decade-long legal battle to gain access to her sons after their German father refused to return them after a summer holiday visit.

Motorcycle stuntman Eddie Kidd also receives an OBE.
Motorcycle stuntman Eddie Kidd also receives an OBE. Credit: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Motorcycle stuntman Eddie Kidd, left wheelchair-bound after an accident in 1996, receives an OBE for services to charitable giving. The daredevil completed the London Marathon last year and is set to carry the Olympic torch through Lewes, east Sussex, on July 17.

A total of 1,201 people were recommended to the Queen for an award, with 1,064 candidates selected at BEM, MBE and OBE level - while 72% of recipients are involved in charitable or voluntary work in their local community.

The Queen's Birthday Honours List can be seen in full by clicking here.