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Sheridan Smith 'overwhelmed' by OBE award

Sheridan Smith, who has been given an OBE in the New Year Honours list, said she was "overwhelmed" by the award.

Smith, who played Cilla Black in the acclaimed ITV biopic Cilla, said: "I'm sincerely thankful and humbled to be recognised with such an honour.

Sheridan Smith said she was 'sincerely thankful and humbled' by the honour. Credit: Lexie Appleby/Geisler-Fotopress/DPA/Press Association Images

"I'm overwhelmed and hope to continue doing the work that I love for many years to come."

The 33-year-old actress' portrayal of Cilla Black was so successful that it sent her version of Anyone Who Had A Heart into the Top 40.

Joan Collins 'deeply honoured' to be made a Dame

Joan Collins said she was "deeply honoured" after it was revealed she would be made a Dame in the New Year Honours list.

The 81-year-old actress, who has been recognised for her decades of charity work, said, "It is humbling to receive this level of recognition from my Queen and country, and I am thrilled and truly grateful."

Collins is best known for her role as Alexis Colby in the lavish American soap opera Dynasty.


Hillsborough campaigner awarded CBE in honours list

A campaigner who fought for justice for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster has been awarded a CBE in the New Year Honours list.

Margaret Aspinall, whose son James was killed in the tragedy when he was 18 years old, has been awarded a CBE for services to the families of the 96 Liverpool fans who died that day.

Margaret Aspinall's son James died during the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Hillsborough Family Support Group chair Mrs Aspinall was, along with group president Trevor Hicks, the driving force in a decades-long legal battle which ended with the quashing of earlier inquest verdicts.

"I feel so humble about it," she said after hearing the news. "We are at the inquests at the moment and to me that's the most important thing, so I was in a dilemma - do you accept or do you not accept? Because so many people were involved in all this."

"Then I thought there could not be a nicer way to end the year, to accept it on behalf of all those people involved."

New Year Honours for Tower of London poppies creators

The creators of the Tower of London's moving art installation of poppies have received MBEs in the New Year Honours list.

Paul Cummins and Tom Piper were given the awards in recognition of the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, which saw 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the Tower's moat.

Each poppy represented a British or Colonial military death during the First World War.

The display took its name from the opening line of a poem written by a First World War soldier whose name no one knows.

Penelope Keith made a Dame at investiture ceremony

Actress Penelope Keith has been made a Dame by the Queen at an investiture ceremony held at Windsor Castle.

Penelope Keith receives her honour at Windsor Castle. Credit: ITV News/Tony Scott

Ms Keith became a mainstay on television screens with her performances as frightfully well-to-do characters in sitcoms such as To The Manor Born and The Good Life.

She was made a Dame for her services to arts and to charity.


Lynda Bellingham 'thrilled and honoured' by OBE

Actress Lynda Bellingham has tweeted her joy at receiving an OBE after being treated for cancer:

90-year-old awarded Empire Medal for charity work

A 90-year-old woman who has devoted her time to charity has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours list.

After a spell in hospital Gwendoline Gellear decided to "do something not to be useless" and began making toys to raise funds for the doctors and nurses who looked after her.

Known as "Aunty Gwen", the volunteer is a regular visitor to Pinderfield Hospital School, where she was herself a patient when she was in her twenties.

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