Actress Barbara Windsor described the journey from East End to Damehood in the New Year’s Honours as “truly like a dream”.
Windsor said she was “very honoured, proud and extremely humbled” to receive her award for services to charity and entertainment.
Elsewhere, Scottish football legend Denis Law receives a CBE for his services to football and charity.
James Nesbitt receives an OBE for services to Northern Ireland and to acting, while Blur frontman Damon Albarn also gets an OBE.
Veteran broadcaster Martyn Lewis receives his knighthood for services to the voluntary and charitable sectors, particularly the hospice movement.
Mr Lewis, who hosted the ITN news before moving to the BBC in 1986, has become a prolific charity campaigner since retiring from the nation’s TV screens in 1999.
It’s a huge honour to be recognised like thisKenneth Hayes BEM
Falklands veteran turned charity campaigner Simon Weston is awarded a CBE. The Welsh Guardsman was horrifically injured on board the Sir Galahad warship after it was hit by an Argentine missile at Bluff Cove during the Falklands War in 1982.
Other recipients in the New Year’s Honours List from our region include:
• Kenneth Hayes, who has been chairman of Elmtree Community Action Group since 2004, has been handed a British Empire Medal (BEM).
Mr Hayes, 83, was nominated for the award – which honours work and dedication in the community – two years ago.
But he thought it had passed him by before receiving a letter.
He said: “I didn’t expect to get it.
“I then got the letter, and it’s a huge honour to be recognised like this.
“It’s really for the work I do with the group for the elderly, disabled and vulnerable people.
“I’ve been fundraising and raised thousands of pounds over the years to keep it going.”
Dad-of-four Mr Hayes, who is also a grandad-of-four and great grandfather-of-two, and is married to Margery, had been chairman of another community association before being elected by the group, which helps people across Teesside.
He is ‘proud’ of the work done.
He added: “Our aim is to try and keep people safe and happy in their homes. You name it, we do it.
“We do that from the money we raise, and it makes a difference.
“About 25% of our members are elderly widows. We mow lawns, fix taps and do anything we can to make things easier.
“If someone has a problem, we try to fix it. If we can’t, we use the money to get someone in who can, and also try to make sure the elderly don’t get ripped off.
“The average age of the members is 76, our oldest member is 93 and our youngest is 65.
“We do other events for our members, too, and it’s a very enjoyable thing to be involved with.”
• Councillor Simon Antony Henig, leader Durham County Council, who was given a CBE for political and public service.
• Prof Barry Carpenter, chair of the advisory board of the care provider MyLife, which runs a community of six bungalows in the Burbank area of Hartlepool for people with learning disabilities, was awarded a CBE honour for services to special educational needs. Since opening in August, all six bungalows have become home for service users who receive round the clock support from their own specially-trained care workers.