A BBC frontman and a top civil servant will be among those flying the flag for south Belfast in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
The Lyric Theatre’s Mark Carruthers and Queen’s University graduate and head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Bruce Robinson have gained royal recognition for their work.
Mark Carruthers, known for his work with the BBC, has been awarded an OBE for his services to drama in Northern Ireland.
Mark joined the board of the Lyric Theatre in 2001 and has served as chairman for the past five years.
Alongside Professor Sir George Bain and the Lyric's development director, Angela McCloskey, Mark has spearheaded the Lyric's campaign to rebuild on its historic Stranmillis site in south Belfast.
In total, the Lyric has had to raise over £18m to pay for the new building, due to open in May, almost £5m of which has come from private sources.
“I'm very pleased, of course, on a personal level,” said Mark. “I don't suppose I fully appreciated quite what I was taking on when I agreed to chair the Lyric Board five years ago — but I'm delighted and very proud of what we've achieved in that time.
“I'm also really pleased that this is recognition for the arts sector generally in Northern Ireland — and for the Lyric in particular. I think the award shows that the 'powers that be' do recognise that the arts make an important contribution to creating and maintaining a healthy and vibrant society.”
Professor Sir George Bain, vice-chairman of the Lyric Theatre added: “I am absolutely thrilled that Mark has been recognised for his services to drama.
“He has fronted the Lyric’s fundraising campaign over many years and has successfully articulated the need to build a new £18.1m producing theatre that will be central to cultural development within Northern Ireland.
“This award recognises Mark’s personal commitment to the arts and his passion for the Lyric in particular.”
Meanwhile, Bruce Robinson, head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) and who leads 25,000 civil servants, lands an Order Of The Bath (KCB).
Mr Robinson is head of the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and secretary to the Northern Ireland Executive.
In these roles, he is the most senior adviser to the First and the Deputy First Ministers.
An Economics graduate of Queens University Belfast, Bruce Robinson joined the Civil Service in 1982, he is married with four children.