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Gay charity boss Ben Summerskill to receive OBE in New Years Honours List

Rachel Charman December 31, 2008

Gay equality group Stonewall’s chief executive has been included in 2009’s New Years Honours List.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, will receive an OBE for services to Equality and Diversity.

Mr Summerskill told

“We hope this will give encouragement to the 80,000 people who have supported Stonewall and made things happen.

“We’re delighted that the honours system has marked the beginning of Stonewall’s 20th anniversary year in this way.

Founded in 1989 in opposition to Section 28, Stonewall has been integral in the fight for gay rights in England and Wales.

“2009 also marks the 10th anniversary of the Admiral Duncan bombing, something which reminds us how much work there still is to do to make Britain a country free from prejudice.”

Other names on the list include novelist Terry Pratchett, who has sold 55 million books worldwide, as well as Led Zepplin frontman Robert Plant and actor Michael Sheen (best known for his portrayal of Tony Blair in hit film The Queen).

Actress Liz Smith, best known as Nana from British sitcom The Royle Family, is awarded an MBE.

Several people were rewarded for their bravery and service during the 7/7 attacks on London, including Tim Coulson, from Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire; Stephen Hucklesby; from Leamington Spa; Elizabeth Kenworthy, from Waltham Abbey, Essex; David Matthews, from Luton; Gerald McIlmurray, from Epsom, Surrey; and Antonio Silvestro, also from Epsom.

Sara Payne, the mother of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne, is honoured for services to child protection.

CBEs are given to two journalists; Press Association executive chairman Paul Potts and financial journalist William Keegan.

One of the most notable aspects of this year’s list, however, is the predominance of sportsmen and women.

This year’s honours list is dominated by Olympians and and Paralympians, following team GB’s successes in Beijing.

Triple gold medallist Christ Hoy will receive a knighthood, whilst fellow cyclis Bradley Wiggins, 28, receives a CBE, as does British Cycling performance director David Brailsford.

MBEs are awarded to for gold medal-winning cyclists Ed Clancy, 23, Geraint Thomas, 22, Jason Kenny, 20, Jamie Staff, 35, and Paul Manning, 34.

Britain’s three female Olympic champion cyclists Nicole Cooke, Victoria Pendleton and Rebecca Romero also get MBEs.

14 year old Paralympian swimmer Eleanor Simmonds and Formula 1 victor Lewis Hamilton also receive MBEs.

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