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Truly grand year for jockey Tony McCoy gets even better

Grand National champion Tony McCoy’s year just keeps getting better after he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List today.





The jump jockey, who won the Grand National this year, is among 61 people from Northern Ireland to feature in the list which also includes veteran broadcaster Jackie Fullerton and poet Michael Longley.

Ireland Cricketer Kyle McCallan receives an MBE for services to his sport.

In total, 58 people from Northern Ireland are on the Queen’s honours list, with three PSNI officers receiving the Queen’s Police Medal (QPM).

Three others, the chief executive of the Social Security Agency, Bryan Davis; Siobhan Fitzpatrick, head of the Early Years Organisation; Raymond Kitson, from the Director of Public Prosecution Service join Mr Longley in receiving the top ranking CBE.

Eleven people receive OBEs and 43 were awarded MBEs.

McCoy, who is originally from Toomebridge in Co Antrim and who now lives in Berkshire, was at Aintree yesterday where he achieved the highlight of his career just two months ago.

It was there that he ended what many regarded as a Grand National jinx, when he won this year’s race at his 15th attempt.

In 2003, the 36-year-old was awarded an MBE for his services to horse racing.

Ballymena-born sports journalist Jackie Fullerton said he was “humbled and very proud” at being awarded an MBE.

“This makes up for missing out on the World Cup in South Africa with Northern Ireland,” he said.

He told the Belfast Telegraph he was elated but also sad that his late parents Martha and Jack were not here to share his award.

“I would dedicate this to wee Martha and wee Jack, ‘cause they’ll be celebrating this in heaven,” he said. Poet Michael Longley, (70), is widely recognised as one of the leading contemporary poets of his generation. His work is regularly included on the English syllabus in schools and his writings have a received a string of eminent awards for his work, including the Whitbread Prize for Poetry.

The youngest Northern Ireland recipient was 35-year-old Ireland cricketer Kyle McCallan from Craigavon, Co Armagh, who won a record 226 international caps and captained Ireland 54 times.

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