OBE for 'Obi-Wan' McGregor

Star Wars star Ewan McGregor has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list. Singer Kate Bush has been awarded a CBE. Director of the Olympic opening ceremony, Danny Boyle, is believed to have turned down the offer of a knighthood.

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New Year Honours celebrate unsung heroes

The New Year Honours were far from being just about sport. The achievements of hundreds of unsung heroes were also marked.

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, the soldier who conquered horrific injuries, was rewarded for his charity work.

The children's illustrator Quentin Blake became a knight and the singer Kate Bush was made a CBE.

Sascha Williams reports.

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone 'turns down CBE'

Former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone. Credit: PA

Ken Livingstone was offered a CBE in the New Year Honours but turned it down, he has said.

The former Mayor of London said he refused the gong for services to the Olympics because he does not think politicians should get honours.

"I was offered a CBE," the 67-year-old revealed on his show on LBC Radio.

"I don't believe politicians should get honours. You had this thing for years that any Tory MP who survived in house for 20 years automatically got a knighthood.

"You get the really disfiguring thing, these people who give thirty or fifty thousand pounds to a political party and then get an honour.

"I was paid very good money to be the Mayor of London and nothing beats the recognition you get when the people of the city elect you in the first place."


Ben Parkinson 'will be on my best behaviour' when he collects MBE

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson of the Parachute Regiment, the most seriously wounded soldier to survive the war in Afghanistan, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours list.

He told ITV News that he will be, "on my best behaviour" when he goes to collect his award at Buckingham Palace:

Ben carried the Olympic Torch during its relay around the UK and has been given the award in recognition of his fund raising and charity work.

Illustrator Quentin Blake honoured with Knighthood

Quentin Blake stands alongside a selection of his illustrations in 2009. Credit: PA

Illustrator Quentin Blake, who has delighted generations with his work, particularly the images he created for many of Roald Dahl's books, has received a knighthood.

The artist, who has also published many books in his own right, said today that many of his overseas fans assume mistakenly that he is already a Sir.

"The funny thing is that my books are published a lot in France and Germany and I get a lot of letters from people there who think I have got it already, so I suppose this kind of regularises it," he said.

"I haven't quite got used to it yet, but I'm very pleased about it.


Tracey Emin 'thrilled' with CBE honour

Artist Tracey Emin has been awarded a CBE Credit: PA

Artist Tracey Emin, whose journey from controversy to respectability has been marked with a CBE, said receiving the honour felt like being "pushed in at the deep end".

The 49-year-old, who grew up in Margate, Kent, is perhaps best known for her work My Bed, which featured an unmade bed littered with condoms, cigarette packets and a pair of knickers.

Asked about her award of the CBE, she said: "I think they pushed me in at the deep end. But I'm absolutely thrilled. It's been insane trying to keep it a secret but I'm really looking forward to seeing the look on my mum's face.

"For me this honour is a symbol of how art can change people's perception of life and view the world in a different way."

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