The prestigious birthday honours list features a variety of incredible people who have been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II during the year. The list is there to celebrate these individuals who have excelled in helping to make the UK a better place by enhancing their own communities alongside contributing to nationwide services.
Anybody can be nominated for this privilege. Following a number of checks, the finalist recommendations are produced to the queen by the honours committee, for her to then complete the list with help from the prime minister. The lists are released twice a year, once on New Year’s Eve and again in June during the queen’s birthday celebrations.
There is no limit on what you can do as an individual to be part of this respected collection of amazing people. The list honours people from all walks of life who give their time generously, from volunteers to service people, artists to scientists, athletes to entrepreneurs, and everyone in-between.
The number of women featured on the honours list is increasing yearly; 2022 has awarded a record-breaking percentage of 51.5% honours in favor of females. The honours list overall has become more aware of diversity this year, with 4.6% of the recipients being of the LBGT community, 13.3% of honours gifted to candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds, and 9.3% of successful nominees honoured who live with long term disability or illness. These statistics have seen much improvement compared to the previous year’s birthday honours lists. In 2014, the Diversity and Inclusions group set a target for at least 10% of honours to be granted to those of ethnic minorities in future years, following a disappointing percentage of just 6.5% awards that year. Similarly, in previous lists, just 2% – 4% of recipients were of the LGBT community, a percentage which also appears to be moving in the right direction.
There has also been a heavy focus on those whose initiatives and efforts assisted in coping with the stresses of life during the Covid Pandemic. This includes people such as twenty-three-year-old Molly Bufton, who prepared, cooked, and delivered a staggering 2,500 meals to elderly people who were unable to leave their homes. Pub landlord Martin Blondel also provided meals to those in need during this time. With the help of local rugby teams, Martin helped deliver 40,000 meals to vulnerable members of his Wiltshire community. Molly and Martin are part of the 59.3% of honours that have been awarded to citizens who have gone above and beyond for their communities.
A Handful of Honours
There is no doubt the list is brimming with astonishing people who have fascinating stories. Here are just a few that stood out to us for the incredible work they do.
Harpreet Kaur Chandi MBE
Harpreet has had an astonishing career since her humble beginnings, being born into a Sikh Indian family in Derby in 1989. After leaving school, Harpreet furthered her educational journey by attending both St George’s University in London and Novak Tennis Academy in the Czech Republic. Harpreet then went on to complete a master’s degree at the Queen Mary University of London.
Following on from Harpreet’s astonishing years in education, she went on to join the British Army as a psychotherapist before serving as a British Army Captain. Harpreet is still in the Army, dividing her time as a professional psychotherapist and a clinical training officer.
Harpreet Kaur Chandi has an extraordinary passion for adventuring; she was nominated to be included on the queen’s birthday honours list for being the first female of color to take on a solo expedition across the South Pole, a triumph she completed in 40 days. Harpreet helps to make up the 6.8% of candidates who are from Asian ethnic groups.
You can watch Harpreet’s spectacular journey here.
Dame Ann Limb DBE DL FRSA
Dame Ann Limb is a committed, enthusiastic, professional educationalist who has had many notable achievements during her life so far. Anne is an openly gay woman who has had a strong presence within the LGBT community for many years.
Ann was born in Moss Side, an area of Manchester that suffers from much poverty. Being the daughter of a butcher, Ann learned early on that with hard work and dedication, there are no limits on what you can accomplish.
During her time as principal at Milton Keynes College, Ann was credited as the youngest female college principal at that time, being just thirty-four years old. This followed her career in further education that began back in 1976. Ann served as principal for both Milton Keynes College and Cambridge Regional College for several decades before taking on the challenge of the Chief Executive University of Industry in the year 2000.
Aside from Ann’s dedication to the educational system, she also has a love for the arts and all cultures that can be expressed through song, dance, and drama. Not only does she chair the Milton Keynes International Festival, but she is also part of the Arts Council England. She is pushing the efforts for Milton Keynes to become the European Capital of Culture by 2023.
Anne has been credited in the 2022 Birthday Honours list for services to young people and philanthropy.
Sabir Zazai FRSE
Sabir Zazai has had an extraordinary journey following him fleeing war-torn Kabul, Afghanistan, in the back of a truck in 1999, after enduring seven terrifying years trying to escape with his young family. When Sabir arrived in the UK, he settled in Coventry, a stunning medieval town filled with peace and opportunities. The community welcomed Sabir, and it wasn’t long before he began volunteer work, focusing on providing safe spaces for immigrants to be educated in local customs, language classes, and financial confidence. Sabir enrolled in Coventry University, where he excelled and graduated in 2010.
In 2017, Sabir moved to Scotland, where he joined and now heads the Scottish Refugee Council, a venture which has presented him with an OBE and a mention on the 2022 honours list.
Caroline Coster MBE
It is stated within the nomination rules that honours can only be given to those still actively involved in what they are being nominated for. Still, sometimes the rules have to be bent, and for someone such as Caroline Coster, this is imperative. Caroline is also one of the successful nominees who make up the 44.8% of female CBE recipients.
Caroline had been an active volunteer and fundraiser for decades following her retirement from being a teacher. She has dedicated her life to working with charities around the world, predominantly in Africa. Caroline worked alongside the Make a Difference Foundation, where she raised over £40,000.00 to help women in Kenya start their own businesses and build a better future for their villages.
In 2019, Caroline was hospitalized with Covid. During her time in hospital, she contracted Sepsis. Caroline had to have her hands and feet amputated, a surgery she is still recovering from, which has meant she has had to take a break from the incredible work she does. She continued, however, to raise awareness for the charities she supports in Africa via Facebook from her hospital bed.
Amongst the amazing ‘normal’ people that have been credited, there have also been a considerable number of celebrities from all walks of life who have made it onto the honours list this year.
Sir Quentin Saxby Blake
Illustrator and Writer Quentin Blake is most well known for his cartoon art in the popular children’s books written by the author Roald Dahl. He is no stranger to awards and royal honours and has been included in this year’s list for the Companion of Honour award for Services to Illustration.
The eighty-nine-year-old cartoonist has had his art featured in over 300 books; he has also created pieces for several hospitals in both England and France. Quentin supports numerous charities, including the human rights organisation Survival International.
Footballer Rio Ferdinand has been awarded by the Officer of the Order of the British Empire, For Services to Association Football and to Charity. In 2012 Rio created the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, a development charity that supports youths living with inequality. Rio was born into poverty in Peckham and has gone on to become one of the UK’s most outstanding players; his aim is to support and encourage young people to pursue their dreams.
After winning the first gold medal for Great Britain in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Olympics, Neil and his visual guide Andrew (his brother) were honored by the Members of the Order of the British Empire For Services Skiing.
Clare Victoria Balding
Broadcasting and LGBT Legend Clare Balding was awarded by the Commander of the Order of the British Empire for Services to Sport and Charity. Clare has been the presenting face for the Olympics and Paralympics for several years; she also is a familiar face on the BBC, Channel 4, and BT Sport. Assisted by Clare’s extensive career in television and radio, she has helped raise over £400,000.00 for Comic relief, alongside her other charitable efforts for the British Thyroid Foundation, The Saints Foundation, British Paralympic Association, Jane Tomlinson Appeal, Injured Jockeys Fund, and Helen Rollason Cancer Charity.
Within the extensive list of over a thousand people, it’s pretty clear there is still some good in this world. People that selflessly give up their time, money, and efforts to help make the lives of those around them just that little bit better. The incredible individuals listed range from the age of eleven to one-hundred-and-four; each and every one of them makes a difference, and it’s so fantastic to have an honour system such as this to give them the recognition they deserve.
Click here to see the complete list in all its glory.