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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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Downing Street cleaners sweep up honours

Two Downing Street cleaners have been awarded for services to the Prime Minister's Office in the New Year Honours list.

Madeleine Josephine Hennell and Henrietta Shorter received British Empire Medals (BEMs) for their work cleaning one of the most famous addresses in the UK.

Madeleine Josephine Hennell and Henrietta Shorter have served for five Prime Ministers. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Both women have served under five Prime Ministers going back to Margaret Thatcher.

More women than men honoured in New Year list

More women than men have been named in the New Year Honours list for the first time ever.

In total, 610 women have been awarded honours - accounting for 51% of recipients.

Here are some more facts and figures from this year's list:

  • 16 women have been named Dames
  • 1,195 people have received an award
  • 74% are people have undertaken outstanding work in their communities
  • 5% of the recipients come from ethnic minorities

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TV star Nicholas Parsons 'flattered and delighted' at CBE

TV and radio personality Nicholas Parsons said he was "flattered and delighted" to be awarded a CBE for his charitable work.

The 90-year-old, who has clocked up numerous acting and comedy roles throughout his career, is still best known for his years as question master of TV quiz Sale Of The Century and for his role as creator and host of Radio 4's Just A Minute.

TV and radio personality Nicholas Parsons has been awarded a CBE for his charitable work. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

He said: "I think it's a very nice honour - I'm flattered and I'm delighted. I think honours are a wonderful thing to receive if you have worked hard and that is recognised. I don't understand these people who are pompous and say they don't want it. "

Parsons previously received an OBE for services to drama and broadcasting a decade ago.

Ballet dancer Carlos Acosta 'thrilled' with CBE honour

Carlos Acosta - seen as the greatest male dancer of his generation - said he was "thrilled" to have been recognised with a CBE for his services to ballet.

The 40-year-old Cuban, a regular guest artist at the Royal Ballet in London, has danced with many of the most famous in his field and has branched out into choreography, literature and film.

Ballet dancer Carlos Acosta grew up in the Cuban capital of Havana. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Acosta said: "I am very excited and thrilled about this news. I never expected to receive an honour such as this, and am both delighted and very proud to be given such recognition for my work in the dance world.

"It was a huge surprise, and I feel privileged to be included."

Businesswoman Brady recognised in New Year Honours

Karren Brady has been awarded a CBE for services to entrepreneurship and women in business. Credit: PA Wire

The Apprentice star Karren Brady has been awarded a CBE for services to entrepreneurship and women in business in the New Year Honours list.

Brady was Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club from 1993 to 2009 and was appointed Vice Chairman of West Ham Football Club in 2010.

Netmums website founders awarded OBEs

One of the co-founders of parental support website Netmums has said her OBE recognises the achievements of all mothers.

Sally Russell, who started the site in 2000 with two other young mothers, said she felt "humbled" to receive the award.

Sally Russell photographed with Prime Minister David Cameron at the Netmums offices in 2012. Credit: Paul Rogers/The Times/PA Archive/Press Association Images

She and co-founders Siobhan Freegard and Cathy Court all receive the OBE in the New Year Honours list.

Mrs Russell said: "It's not so much a personal recognition but a recognition of what's been achieved by mums all over the country.

"We're really delighted that it has recognised that through something as simple as the internet we can make a difference to people's lives and that's what motivated us in the first place and still motivates us today, and it's lovely to see that recognised in the wider world.

"It's extremely exciting and of course it's also a huge personal honour. I feel very humbled, it wasn't expected at all."

The three women met when their eldest sons were at playgroup together and decided to set up a local website to help other young mothers in their area.

Since then Netmums.com has grown to become Britain's biggest parenting site, with 1.6 million members.

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