Covid heroes who are helping to save the nation from the pandemic and sporting heroes who gave us a reason to celebrate during these dark times are all set to be recognised in the honours list
Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The chief medical officer is set to receive a knighthood in the New Year’s honours list, among a host of other Covid heroes who will also be recognised for their efforts.
Professor Chris Witty became the face of the country’s daily Covid briefings as the pandemic struck, delivering hard hitting statistics and advice to millions.
But much of the work he did was behind the scenes, including starting the hunt for a vaccine before Covid-19 had even reached the ports of the UK.
Ministers have testified to his relentless hard work, citing the long hours logged at his desk determined to help guide the nation through the other end from this virus.
“Chris may often put on a dour face but that is exactly what was required during the dark days of lockdown,” a senior source told The Sun.
“Chris has been calm and unflappable throughout and is a trusted source of wisdom and knowledge. He thoroughly deserves his honour.”
Prof Whitty, 55, from Gloucester, is an expert in infectious diseases and is also a practising NHS consultant physician at University College London Hospitals and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance was already knighted in 2019 for services to open clinical science, but is likely to be rewarded again for his efforts alongside Professor Whitty.
Among the sporting heroes to be recognised in the honours, tennis star Emma Raducanu will lead a bumper list of British sporting icons to be handed gongs this year.
The US Open champ, 19, is tipped to become the youngest ever recipient of an MBE for her extraordinary success in New York.
She swept past Leylah Fernandez in the final, 6-4, 6-3, to win the women’s singles tennis title – just months after she took her A-levels.
Just weeks after she was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year she is expected to be handed an honour by the Queen to cap a perfect year.
A Whitehall insider said: “In a year marred by Covid, sporting heroes gave us a reason to be cheerful.
“It’s right that they are rewarded for their remarkable success.”
After opening up about her tumultuous year, Kate Garraway, 54, is in line to receive a gong in recognition of her 32-year broadcasting career, which includes her award-winning documentary on her husband Derek Draper’s Covid battle.
Kate will likely receive an MBE or CBE for her years of service to her profession.
The honour follows heartache after her former political adviser husband, 54, was taken to hospital at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and falling gravely ill with coronavirus.
Elsewhere, Mel B is set to receive an MBE in recognition of her services to domestic violence victims.
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The Spice Girl and Women’s Aid patron, 46, has bravely opened up about her own experience of abuse and has relentlessly campaigned for change, taking her crusade to Downing Street in 2019.
The pop star even fronted a Women’s Aid campaign – a music video called Love Should Not Hurt – in which she portrayed a character who was a badly beaten victim of violence.
Meanwhile, sources say that stars of Gareth Southgate’s England football squad, who stormed to the Euro 2020 final only to lose out Italy, will also be honoured.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.