McDowell joins stars of entertainment and sport on honours list

GRAEME McDOWELL, 31, from Portrush in Co Antrim, is awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List today after a sensational golfing year.

In June he became the first European winner of the US Open since 1970, and in October he clinched the Ryder Cup for Europe in a heart-stopping final match at Celtic Manor in Wales.

Pop star Annie Lennox receives an OBE for her work fighting AIDS and poverty in Africa.

The former Eurythmics singer is one of a host of entertainment and sport stars awarded honours, including Poirot actor David Suchet.

Also recognised are football referee Howard Webb, who made up for England’s disappointing World Cup performance by taking charge of the final in Johannesburg, and veteran actress Sheila Hancock.

Some of the honours for senior figures from the business world could prove controversial.

There are knighthoods for Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways, Roger Carr, chairman of energy giant Centrica, and Richard Lambert, the outgoing director-general of the CBI.

This year Sir Roger, 64, who lives in Kensington, London, has presided over a huge increase in profits at Centrica-owned British Gas and the hotly-disputed sale of Cadbury to US food giant Kraft.

Sir Martin, 63, who lives in Oxted, Surrey, had a busy 12 months dealing with strikes by BA cabin crew and massive disruption to flights caused by snow and the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud, as well as overseeing the sale of Liverpool Football Club.

The list also features the first honours for MPs since June 2008, when Peter Viggers, whose claim for a duck house later became the emblem of the expenses scandal, was knighted for services to Parliament.

Anne Begg, 55, who became the first full-time wheelchair user elected to Parliament when she was returned as Labour MP for Aberdeen South in 1997, is made a dame for services to disabled people and equal opportunities.

Peter Bottomley, 66, the Conservative MP for Worthing West in West Sussex, who was first elected in 1975 and served as a junior minister under Margaret Thatcher, is knighted for public service.

Aberdeen-born Lennox, who turned 56 on Christmas Day, has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide with the Eurythmics and as a solo star.

Her hit songs include Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), No More ‘I Love Yous’ and Why, and she has won a string of awards including Grammys, Brits, Ivor Novellos and an Oscar.

She now splits her time between her music and campaigning on behalf of AIDS and HIV victims and poverty-stricken women and children in the developing world.

Lennox is an Oxfam global ambassador and was inspired by Nelson Mandela to launch the Sing campaign to raise money to prevent the spread of HIV in South Africa.

Suchet, 64, from London, who receives a CBE for services to drama, has played a huge variety of roles on stage and screen during an acclaimed acting career spanning more than 40 years.

But he is best known as Agatha Christie’s debonair Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in the long-running ITV series.

Suchet, whose brother is broadcaster John Suchet, played the sleuth in the classic Murder On The Orient Express in a new adaptation broadcast on Christmas Day.

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