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Comedian Griff Rhys Jones ‘humbled’ as he collects OBE

The 66-year-old was given the honour for services to entertainment and charity.

Griff Rhys Jones was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Griff Rhys Jones was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (Andrew Matthews/PA)

By Tom Horton, PA

Comedian Griff Rhys Jones has called for a greater focus on improving the standard of living in towns and cities outside London.

The 66-year-old was speaking after collecting an OBE at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace for his services to charity and entertainment.

The entertainer is the president of Civic Voice, a charity that promotes civic pride and the importance of town and city centres.

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Griff Rhys Jones was made an OBE by the Duke of Cambridge (Jonathan Brady/PA)

He said: “I have got this not really for myself but for the whole civic movement and I am really pleased to do that.”

He added that there should be “more of a focus” in the UK on making towns and cities “good enough to live in”.

Some cities outside of London have centres that become deserted at the end of the working day, Mr Rhys Jones said.

“Everywhere you go in London there are shops, but you walk 20 yards and there are people living.

“In the big cities of Britain, the problem is they’ve turned some of them into wastelands that close at 5.30pm and they can’t quite work out why nobody wants to go there at all anymore.”

He said that when you walk around Salford in Greater Manchester it is like “walking around in an architect’s drawing and not feeling very wanted”.

“The future is not about loads of cars and huge car parks and everybody coming in. It’s about people feeling good about the locality that they have and the things that they need, the small shops around them,” he said.

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Griff Rhys Jones said he had enjoyed meeting other people receiving honours (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Mr Rhys Jones became a household name in the 1980s with Not The Nine O’Clock News and Alas Smith And Jones.

The celebrated comedian, writer, actor and presenter began his comedy career at Cambridge University, where he was a member of the famous Footlights drama club.

He said the investiture ceremony on Thursday was “rather an amazing thing” and that he had enjoyed meeting others who were also receiving honours.

He said: “I felt a little bit humbled by the people all around.

“I know it is an honour as it is called an honour, but it is also an honour to get one.”

PA

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