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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

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

Angel Of The North sculptor knighted

Angel Of The North sculptor Antony Gormley has been honoured with a knighthood. Credit: PA Wire

Angel Of The North sculptor Antony Gormley has received a knighthood for services to the arts in the 2014 New Year Honours list.

The 63-year-old is one of the country's most prominent artists, with public works to his name including the giant rust-coloured Angel Of The North and Another Place - which consists of 100 cast-iron figures on a Merseyside beach looking out to sea.

Gormley, who grew up in London and was educated at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire, said he felt the award was representative of a shift in the culture of the country.

He said: "We've realised we are rather good at making things that are not simply ships, planes or military equipment. This is something we can be proud of and take to other cultures.

"I think it's a feeling that these sort of awards went to people, and of course still do, that have served the country in obvious ways militarily, politically or industrially and now they also go to people that have opened people's minds and this reflects that shift."

Michael Crawford: CBE was 'most wonderful surprise'

Michael Crawford has been awarded a CBE for services to children's charities. Credit: PA Wire

Actor and singer Michael Crawford said his CBE for services to children's charities was "the most wonderful surprise".

The 71-year-old got his big break when composer Benjamin Britten picked him out to appear in one of his operas while he was still at school and he went on to carve out a career on stage and screen.

It was his role as the hapless Frank Spencer in 1970s sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em that made Crawford a household name, but he continued to appear in the theatre and in 1981 he starred in the West End version of the hit Broadway musical Barnum.

He won an Olivier Award for Barnum and it set the stage for his long-running role in The Phantom Of The Opera.

Crawford, who was awarded the OBE in 1986, said: "It is the most wonderful surprise. My very first thought when I received the news was how proud my mother would be.

"I do thank most sincerely those who are responsible for my receiving this great honour and to all my friends and colleagues at The Sick Children's Trust, I'm proud to be a part of our very special charity."

Actress Angela Lansbury's a genuine Hollywood Dame

Actress Angela Lansbury, who has been made a Dame of the British Empire, has her roots in London's East End despite a career that has seen her become a fixture in Hollywood and on Broadway.

Angela Lansbury is to become a Dame. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

The 88-year-old actress is known to millions as the sleuth Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote but her career includes countless film roles including appearances in Bedknobs And Broomsticks, The Manchurian Candidate and alongside Elvis Presley in Blue Hawaii.

Lansbury, who was previously awarded a CBE, was born in Poplar, east London, but moved to the US during the Second World War after the death of her father Edgar, who was a politician.

Her award, on the overseas list, was for "services to drama and to charitable work and philanthropy".

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