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MBE 'icing on cake', says Ruth

Gavin & Stacey star Ruth Jones has described receiving an MBE as the "icing on the cake" of her career so far.

The actress who co-created the popular comedy drama was presented with the award by the Queen during a Windsor Castle investiture ceremony.

Jones, who is busy filming the latest series of the Sky comedy Stella, said: "It's a huge honour and I feel really lucky, I love doing my job. I suppose doing the job you love is reward enough but this is like the icing on the cake.

"It's funny, yesterday I was on the film set as Stella, which we're filming at the moment, and I was dressed up in my nurse's costume, with my wig on shouting at somebody and today I'm in Windsor Castle getting an MBE - so life is very rich and varied, let's put it that way."

The actress and writer got her big break on ITV's diet club drama Fat Friends in 2000 and more importantly also met co-star James Corden.

The pair came up with the idea for Gavin & Stacey during breaks from filming and the show, set partly in her native South Wales, became a massive hit.

The award-winning comedy was a huge critical and commercial hit and made Jones, who co-wrote it and played the larger-than-life Nessa, a star.

Other roles include playing Carry On star Hattie Jacques in a BBC biopic.

The multi-talented Jones plays the title character in Stella but also co-wrote and produced the show, which is set in the South Wales valleys, with her husband, David Peet.

Jones, who was announced during the investiture by her married name Ruth Peet, said: "It feels weird talking about Gavin & Stacey because it was such a long time ago but it was a huge part of my life, I had such a great time, I loved working with James Corden.

"But things move on, we're on our fourth series of Stella now.

"I do have a laugh doing my job and I work with my husband, we have a production company, so it's great we're able to spend time together working.

"I am a bit of a perfectionist and I do tend to throw myself into things quite a lot - I want it to be as good as it can be."

Speaking about her brief chat with the Queen during the MBE presentation, the actress added: "I told her that I write and perform and she said to me 'that sounds like an immense amount of fun'."

She added, laughing: "I have no expectation whatsoever that the Queen has ever seen an episode of Gavin & Stacey or Stella. I think we sent Prince Charles a boxset of Gavin & Stacey once and I think William and Harry like it."

Lance Corporal Wes Masters, 26, from the Royal Army Medical Corps, was awarded the Military Cross by the Queen for his courage in risking enemy fire to help a comrade wounded during a dawn fire fight with insurgents.

L/Cpl Masters, then a Private, landed by helicopter with the rest of his troop to conquer an enemy base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in July last year.

As the troop began to search for targets, L/Cpl Masters' detachment came under fire and one of their number, Lance Corporal of Horse Simon Moloney, 23, was shot through the neck by a Taliban sharpshooter.

Without waiting for orders, L/Cpl Masters ran across 328 yards (300m) of open ground under heavy fire while carrying 132lb (60kg) of equipment to reach his fallen friend and provide medical treatment.

Despite the 23-year-old Blues and Royals soldier suffering a rare and complicated injury, his colleague was able to stabilise him and he rejoined the now raging gun battle.

L/Cpl of Horse Moloney, from St Albans, was also recognised by the Queen, receiving the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his actions in returning to the skirmish despite the serious injury.

He said of L/Cpl Masters: "We're best mates. I knew it was him that was going to be there, I just didn't think he would be that quick."

He added, joking: "I owed him £20 - that's what it was. Once he calmed me down, he said I was going to be all right. He did his job and I was fine to crack on - no dramas.

"There wasn't a sense of worry. Everyone was professional, we just needed to get on with the job."

L/Cpl Masters said: "I just reacted - nothing to do with training, you just react. If your best mate got shot, you'd run and help him.

"The longer you get from the incident, you're just happy to be alive."

Also recognised during the Windsor Castle investiture ceremony was Ron Ayers, chief of aerodynamics with the Bloodhound project - a bid to break the world land speed record with a car travelling at more than 1,000mph.

Mr Ayers, who was part of the team that set the last land speed record of 763.035mph with Thrust SSC, was awarded an MBE for services to engineering.

He said: "I like analysing things, if there's lots of complexity and a problem that nobody else has ever tackled that's what I like - to be the first person in the field to create new technology."

Mr Ayers said leaving a legacy was just as important to the team as breaking the land speed record: "On this project it's very much an education project: 25% of all the schools in this country follow our education programme, our hope is to inspire the next generation.

"The amount of engineering now needed to make a green world, we need vast numbers of engineers, we've got to generate the interest among young people."

During the ceremony Sir Mark Worthington, who was Baroness Thatcher's private secretary, was dubbed a knight.

He was honoured for his support to Lady Thatcher following her departure from Downing Street, and at her funeral last year was singled out by politicians for his dedication and support to the former prime minister in the latter years of her life.

Sir Mark said: "I was with her for 21 years and of course it was a wonderful surprise and honour to receive the knighthood.

"I didn't start working with her until 1992 when she had left the Commons. She was an enormously hard worker and she kept that going as long as she could. In later years ill health prevented her doing as much as she wanted to but she kept going right to the end."


From Belfast Telegraph