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Women outdo men on New Year Honours list for first time

More women than men have been named in the New Year Honours list for the first time ever - accounting for 51% of the recipients. They include actress Penelope Keith, singer Katherine Jenkins and Gavin and Stacey co-creator Ruth Jones.

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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."

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