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What's really important about my OBE is mention of service to the community, says thrilled James Nesbitt

By Jemma Crew

James Nesbitt said he was "thrilled" to receive an OBE from the Queen yesterday.

Looking dapper in his morning suit, the 51-year-old Lucky Man actor from Co Antrim received the award for services to drama and to the community in Northern Ireland. The Cold Feet star has spent years helping families affected by the Troubles. Watching the ceremony were his daughters, Peggy (18), and Mary (14), and his 88-year-old father.

The Coleraine man beamed broadly as the Queen pinned the honour to his jacket.

He said: "I've been very blessed with my work and very blessed to come from Northern Ireland and for those two things to be on the citation was really rather gratifying."

He recently joked on the Graham Norton show about his excitement. "I got a phone call from a very jolly lady at Buckingham Palace asking if I wanted to decline the honour - apparently I had ticked the wrong box!" The Missing star, who is a patron of victims support group the Wave Trauma Centre, has used his high profile to keep the issue of the 'Disappeared' on the agenda.

When he found out he was on the New Year's Honours list in January, he said: "For services to acting, that's great. But I've been very lucky in my career - there are plenty of actors more able than me. What was more important to me was the mention of services to the community in Northern Ireland.

"Because of the lucky nature of my success, I've had the opportunity to do quite a lot in Northern Ireland, which is a duty, but also a real privilege.

"So if this brings more awareness to the ongoing work the Wave Trauma Centre is doing, then I'm thrilled."

Wave CEO Sandra Peake praised Nesbitt's work, saying: "His tremendous support over many years for Wave and those breaved, injured and traumatised as a result of the Troubles is driven by a real understanding of their needs and an intuitive compassion.

"We could not be prouder that he is one of our Patrons and he thoroughly deserves this honour".

Nesbitt wasn't the only TV star at Buckingham Palace.

Barbara Windsor (78) was made a dame for her services to charity and entertainment.

The petite star - famed for her role as EastEnders' Peggy Mitchell, said it was lovely to meet the Queen - "another small lady".

Belfast Telegraph


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