It’s the unsung heroes who I look for

It’s always the celebrities who grab the headlines, of course. People like good old Brucie. “He’s 83, you know! About time he got his gong,” I heard one fella say as I sat in the auditorium at The Regent theatre on Sunday evening watching the next generation of musical theatre stars strut their stuff.
Given his undoubted talent – and that remarkable chin – I wouldn’t begrudge Mr Forsyth his knighthood.
However, as a general rule, I’ve always had a problem with the honours system and the randomness of it all.
After all, who picks these people? Who nominates them? How does it all work?
How come a spectacularly useless former journalistic colleague of mine in North Wales got a gong but after 60 years in the business The Sentinel’s finest – John Abberley – didn’t?
How come our Robbie hasn’t received nowt yet despite the fact that he’s been the biggest name in British pop music for a decade?
To me, it all smacks very much of funny handshakes, a little bit of who-knows-whom and whole lot of Buggins’s Turn.
Once again, I looked down the very long list for the Queen’s Birthday Honours and, with half of them, I thought: Really?
Is it just me or do many of the recipients seem to already have a string of letters attached to their names?
You know the sort of thing: Rear Admiral Simeon Farquarharson III, MBE, OBE, KBE, DIY and City & Guilds in Woodwork (Level Three) is awarded the Order of the Gravy Train for services to his own waistline.
It strikes me that some people – particularly members of the Queen’s household, ageing politicians and senior bods in the Armed Forces and the police – get gongs just for hanging around long enough to collect a handsome pension.
Then I look at some of the recipients and I’m left wondering why they should be honoured above their peers.
Take, for example, David Higgins – who was given a knighthood for being one of the masterminds behind the creation of the London 2012 Olympic Park.
I feel sorry for the other ‘masterminds’. And, pardon me, but isn’t that his job? On that basis, can I be knighted too?
Then there’s England’s Ashes-winning cricketers – captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower – who were honoured with OBEs.
Meanwhile, player of the series Down Under – Alastair Cook – received an MBE for having the darkest and longest eyebrows ever seen in the Long Room at Lord’s.
OK, I made the second one up, but you take my point.
These sporting awards are patently ridiculous – and I say that as an avid cricket watcher and follower of our national team who will be at the Rose Bowl on Sunday for the next test.
Surely to goodness we should be ackowledging sportsmen and women at the end of long and illustrious careers not just because they’ve got one over on the convicts during the winter.
After all, if the Aussies had a similar system Shane Warne wouldn’t be able to move for the weight of medals round his neck.
Amid all the nonsense about famous faces, however, you can find examples of people whose endeavours have genuinely enriched the lives of others.
People such as Professor Roger Michael Boyle – National Clinical director for Heart Disease and Stroke, who received a CBE for services to Medicine.
Or IVF pioneer Professor Robert Edwards, aged 85, who was knighted eight months after being awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for his work that led to the birth in 1978 of Louise Brown, the world’s first test-tube baby.
Then there’s Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson, writer of 120 books and a saint to parents like me who love to read to their children.
She became an MBE just days after being named Children’s Laureate.
But, in all honesty, it is the local names I look for when the New Year’s Honours and the Queen’s Birthday Honours are announced.
People like Lilian Barker, of the Chesterton Community Forum, and North Staffs respiratory medicine guru Angela Evans, who both received an MBE.
I’d far rather see ordinary people like these honoured and given their moment in the sun than read more guff about celebrities being rewarded for the supreme feat of being themselves.

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One thought on “It’s the unsung heroes who I look for

  1. Chrismcguigan says:

    Arise Sir Tideswell of Sentinel Towers! I’d give you a knighthood purely for always being right on the money about stuff like this!

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