Queen’s Birthday Honours for Rory Best, Steve Davis, Jonathan Rea and Gloria Hunniford
Northern Ireland football captain Steven Davis heads a list of more than 100 local people named in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
The inspirational midfielder, who captained his country at Euro 2016, is awarded an MBE. Two other sports stars recognised - Ireland rugby captain Rory Best is made an OBE, and double World Superbike champion Jonathan Rea gets an MBE. Broadcaster Gloria Hunniford receives an OBE in recognition of her fundraising work for cancer charities.
She helped set up the Caron Keating Foundation in memory of her daughter, who died from cancer in 2004.
Davis's MBE is in recognition of his services to football, and comes a year after he captained Northern Ireland at Euro 2016. The team reached the last 16 before losing to Wales.
The 32-year-old, who has earned 95 caps for his country, said he was “hugely proud” and “totally honoured” to receive an award from the Queen.
“It is just a huge honour for both myself and my family,” he said.
Davis added: “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.”
Davis made his full international debut in 2005, and has been a major factor in the Northern Ireland team’s resurgence over the past few years.
In October 2015 he scored twice in the famous 3-1 victory over Greece which helped Northern Ireland qualify for Euro 2016, their first major tournament in 30 years. And he captained the team at the Euros in France last summer.
Best, meanwhile, collects an OBE. The 34-year-old hooker, who plays for Ulster, has made 104 appearances for Ireland since making his international debut against New Zealand in 2005.
Best was named as the new Ireland captain in January 2016.
Last November he became Ireland's 5th centurion, gaining his 100th cap against Australia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Best is currently part of the Lions squad touring New Zealand.
Rea (30) from Larne, who receives an MBE, was crowned World Superbike Champion in 2015 and again in 2016.
Away from sport, Gloria Hunniford is honoured for her services to cancer charities through breast screening services and cancer support.
She and her sons Paul and Michael set up the Caron Keating Foundation, which gives grants to all types of cancer charities in the UK, financing professional carers and support groups and counselling services, helping to fund pieces of machinery for faster detection, drivers to take cancer patients to and from treatment centres and complementary therapies to help with pain control.
Gloria said: “It was a big surprise because I never really knew how these things worked.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital