Absolutely Fabulous actress Joanna Lumley has been named in the New Year Honours for services to drama, entertainment and charitable causes.
The former model and campaigner said she was “astonished, thrilled and touched beyond words” at being made a dame in the New Year Honours.
The actress, 75, best known for her role as the boozy Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous, has been honoured for services to drama, entertainment and charitable causes.
She said in a statement to the PA news agency: “I am astonished and thrilled and touched beyond words to receive this colossal honour.
“It comes as a complete and unexpected surprise, and is the kindest and most beautiful present imaginable.”
Lumley has also battled for the rights of Gurkhas to settle in the UK, supported numerous environmental campaigns and was an early backer of the now scrapped Garden Bridge across the Thames.
She had been awarded an OBE in 1995, and received the Bafta TV Fellowship at a star-studded ceremony in 2017.
She said at the time: “This for me is paradise. I am in the company that I wished to keep ever since I was young. “I wanted to be with the people who left race and religion and gender and shoe size outside the door.
I wanted to be with those people, I wanted to hang out with the boys in the band, I wanted to be part of the sisterhood. I wanted to be in this real circus.
Absolutely Fabulous originally ran between 1992 and 1996 but was revived from 2001 to 2004.
She said of Patsy: “She’s got the morals of an alleycat, and I like to think I’m almost diametrically opposed to her in my primness and my properness. “I drink – not a lot – and I smoke – not a lot – but Patsy is extreme in everything she does and I think people quite like that.”
Her other career highlights include her role as Purdey in The New Avengers, a role which propelled her to fame in 1976 – and she also made a lesser-known appearance in 1973 on Coronation Street as Ken Barlow’s posh girlfriend, Elaine.
Lumley’s movie credits include a role in the 1969 Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
She also shared a kiss with Leonardo DiCaprio while starring in the Martin Scorsese crime drama The Wolf Of Wall Street and appeared in two Pink Panther films.
In 2016 she and her co-star Jennifer Saunders made Absolutely Fabulous The Movie, which included celebrity cameos from Kate Moss and more.
Born 9,000 feet up in the Himalayas, in Kashmir, where her father was an officer in the Gurkha Rifles, Lumley was educated at a convent in Hastings, East Sussex.
The former model has two Baftas for her performance in Ab Fab.
Other recent television stints include a guest role in sitcom Motherland as well as ITV’s Finding Alice.
Her 2022 TV projects include Joanna Lumley’s Secret Cities, a three-part documentary series for ITV in which she visits Rome, Paris and Berlin.
Footballer who became Head Teacher gets OBE
A former Football League winger who became a headteacher has been given an OBE for his services to education in the New Year Honours.
Matt Jones, formerly a professional footballer for Southend United, joined as principal of Ark Globe Academy in Elephant and Castle in 2012.
The school is in an area with high levels of economic deprivation, meaning children face an enormous disadvantage in accessing the best universities.
But a high percentage of Ark Globe’s sixth form students still receive university offers, often going to a ‘top third’ university, a Russell Group university or Oxbridge.
In 2015, Mr Jones became the chairman of the Southwark Association of Secondary Headteachers (SASH), which addresses issues in local secondary schools and their communities, and became executive principal of Ark Evelyn Grace Academy in 2019.
Matt is also the founder and chairman of The Elephant Group charity, supporting students from underrepresented groups to access top UK universities.
He said: “I’m humbled and very proud. This award recognises the incredible work of so many brilliant people who’ve helped make Ark Globe what it is today.
“Our team and I are passionate about embedding lifelong learning into the school and the local community, and everyone has worked hard to create a culture of aspiration and high expectations for all our students.”
Born in Chiswick, he now lives with his wife, Charlotte and four daughters near Chelmsford in Essex.
MBE for services to Midwifery
A midwife has been made an MBE for years of service in midwifery and for outstanding service to the community.
Victoria Cochrane, who has worked in the NHS for 19 years, has been in senior leadership and management positions, including her role as director of midwifery and gynaecology at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
She has also been co-chairwoman of the Trust’s Women’s Network, and Cultural Safety Champion in maternity services.
Lesley Watts, chief executive of the Trust, said: “Vicki Cochrane has been our Director of Midwifery for three years and has many years of service in midwifery, heading up midwifery and maternity services across both hospital sites.
“I’ve seen her go from strength to strength, overseeing many CQC visits with outstanding results.
“Vicki is a true expert in her field and I’m incredibly proud of her.
“I am delighted that she has been recognised for her commitment, professionalism and leadership. This prestigious award is a testimony to all her hard work.”
Angela Barry receives an OBE for services to education
Sidcup resident Angela Barry has been appointed an OBE in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for services to education, specifically her work in school improvement and developing leadership within schools.
She has so far worked in education for 36 years, 23 of which have been as a head teacher or in executive leadership.
Angela credits her first headship in a Southwark Diocesan Board of Education school in Woolwich with setting her on a successful career.
This then led Angela to become the founding executive head teacher and chief executive of the first multi-academy trust in Bexley.
Angela has been both a local leader of education and a national leader of education.
Angela’s work has included stepping in as interim chief executive to assure the brighter futures of schools within several failing academy trusts
Pioneering paediatric doctor is made an OBE
A grandfather who invented life changing medical techniques has been recognised in the New Year’s honours list, writes Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter.
Professor Shakeel Qureshi, pictured, was made a Knight Bachelor for services to paediatric cardiology and charity.
Since 1988, he has been a consultant heart doctor at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, where he has treated thousands of children.
The father-of-four and grandfather-of nine became frustrated by the lack of equipment for operating on children born with heart defects.
In 1990 he co-invented and developed a device which meant children had their heart defects treated without lengthy open heart surgery.
Taking the name of Professor Qureshi and co-creator Michael Tynan, it is known as the Tyshak balloon catheter and is now used around the world.
In 2013 he went on to create another device which allows doctors to treat leaks between a patient’s heart tissue and valve replacement
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