Belfast Telegraph

Queen's Birthday Honours: A deserved hat-trick as three of our sports stars


By Adrian Rutherford

Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has scored an MBE as a hat-trick of our sporting heroes are recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The 32-year-old, who led his country at Euro 2016, is rewarded for services to football.

Rugby star Rory Best and motorcycle champion Jonathan Rea also head a list of more than 100 local recipients.

Away from sport, broadcaster Gloria Hunniford is honoured for services to cancer charities.

The honours, released to mark the Queen's official birthday, recognise many who have worked tirelessly out of the public spotlight. They include recipients from the fields of business, education, healthcare and charity.

But it is Davis who is the standout name. He receives an MBE for his achievements with the national football team.

The midfielder was a driving force during last summer's Euro 2016 adventure in France.

He became the first player in 30 years to captain Northern Ireland at a major tournament, where they defied expectations to reach the last 16.

He said: "It is just a huge honour for both myself and my family. I was shocked and taken aback when I was told about it. I thought it was a joke at first.

"It was just something that had never registered with me, that I might receive something like this. Now, however, I think it's unbelievable. To get recognition like this when I'm still playing is a massive thing."

Also recognised is Rory Best, the Ireland rugby captain, who receives an OBE for services to rugby.

The 34-year-old made his international debut in 2005 and has gone on to make more than 100 appearances for his country.

He was appointed captain in 2016 and is part of the Lions squad touring New Zealand.

Double World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea (30) receives an MBE for services to motorcycle racing.

Meanwhile, Gloria Hunniford receives an OBE. The Portadown-born presenter lost her daughter Caron Keating to breast cancer in 2004 and set up a foundation in her memory. She said Caron would have been "so proud" of her award.

Elsewhere, Carol Walker receives an MBE for services to commemoration and reconciliation. She is director of the Somme Association, a charity set up in 1990 to co-ordinate research into Ireland's part in the First World War.

In total, 102 people from Northern Ireland are honoured.

Norma Dawson, a professor of law at Queen's University, is one of three people to receive a CBE.

A further 18 are awarded an OBE, including Colm Davis, principal of Tor Bank School in Dundonald, who receives the same accolade for services to children with special educational needs.

Among 35 recipients of an MBE are Rob Hardeman, deputy chair of the NI Science Industry Panel, and Pastor Jack McKee from New Life City Church in Belfast.

A total of 42 people receive the British Empire Medal.

Three PSNI officers are awarded the Queen's Police Medal and there is one recipient of the Queen's Ambulance Medal.

Belfast Telegraph


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