Andy Murray, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill among those celebrated in New Year’s Honours List

File photo dated 20-08-2016. Mo Farah won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at London 2012 and was seeking to

File photo dated 20-08-2016. Mo Farah won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at London 2012 and was seeking to do the 'double double' when he embarked on the 5,000m in Rio, having already won over 10,000m. And the Londoner's wide smile lit up the night's sky once again as he celebrated his fourth Olympic gold with the Union Flag. ... 2016 Christmas Sport Package ... 15-12-2016 ... Rio ... Brazil ... Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. Unique Reference No. 29477701 ... Issue date: Thursday December 15, 2016. See PA story SPORT Christmas Pictures. Photo credit should read Mike Egerton/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah has described being given a knighthood in the New Year Honours as a 'dream come true' for a boy who arrived in the UK unable to speak English.

Embargoed to 2230 Friday December 30Max Whitlock at the Tower of London, as he has been awarded an M

Embargoed to 2230 Friday December 30Max Whitlock at the Tower of London, as he has been awarded an MBE for services to Gymnastics in the New Year Honours list. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December, 29, 2016. See PA HONOURS Stories. Photo credit should read: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The distance runner, 33, who successfully defended his 5,000 and 10,000 metre titles at the Rio games, is recognised for services to athletics.

He is joined at the top of an honours list heavy with Team GB heroes by tennis world number one Andy Murray, who took gold in Brazil and becomes a knight for services to tennis and charity, while heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill is made a dame.

Sir Mo said: 'I'm so happy to be awarded this incredible honour from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight.

'Looking back at the boy who arrived here from Somalia, not speaking any English, I could never have imagined where I would be today - it's a dream come true.


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'I'm so proud to have had the opportunity to race for my country and win gold medals for the British people, who have been my biggest supporters throughout my career.'

File photo dated 24-08-2015 of Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill celebrates with her gold medal for

File photo dated 24-08-2015 of Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill celebrates with her gold medal for the Women's Heptathlon at the IAAF World Championships. ... Jessica Ennis-Hill File Photo ... 13-10-2016 ... Beijing ... China ... Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. Unique Reference No. 28903757 ... Issue date: Thursday October 13, 2016. Jessica Ennis-Hill has announced her retirement from athletics. See PA story ATHLETICS Ennis Hill. Photo credit should read Martin Rickett/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

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Wimbledon and Olympic champion awarded a knighthood

The biggest honour of Andy Murray's spectacular 2016 was saved for last, with the Wimbledon and Olympic champion awarded a knighthood.

The 29-year-old enjoyed the best season of his career and finished it ranked world number one after winning 24 matches in a row.

After reaching the final of both the Australian and French Opens, Murray claimed his third grand slam title at Wimbledon in July.

Embargoed to 2230 Friday December 30File photo dated 11/07/16 of Andy Murray who has been awarded a

Embargoed to 2230 Friday December 30File photo dated 11/07/16 of Andy Murray who has been awarded a Knighthood for services to tennis and charity in the New Year Honours list. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Friday December 30, 2016. See PA HONOURS stories. Photo credit should read: Steve Paston/PA Wire - Credit: PA

He then became the first tennis player ever to win a second Olympic gold medal in singles when he followed up his title in London with one in Rio.

Calls for Murray, who was made an OBE four years ago, to receive a knighthood have been growing all year and reached a peak after his remarkable end to the season.

The Scot won successive titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna and Paris before defeating Novak Djokovic in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena to pip the Serbian to the year-end number one ranking.

Murray played down talk of a possible knighthood, saying: 'Obviously it is the highest honour you can get in this country. But I feel like I'm too young for something like that.

'When I win any award or am presented with anything it is nice because it is recognition for what you have given your life to - up to now anyway.

England football captain David Beckham stands with his wife, Victoria, as he shows off the OBE (Offi

England football captain David Beckham stands with his wife, Victoria, as he shows off the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) he received, from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II at London's Buckingham Palace. The former Manchester United star, who now plays for Real Madrid, said recently: 'I am honoured and privileged to receive this recognition. It's not just for me but for Manchester United, England, all of my team mates and my family'. ... David Beckham Investiture ... 27-11-2003 ... London ... UK ... Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA Archive. Unique Reference No. 1839781 ... - Credit: PA

'I am still young and there are still a lot of things that can go wrong. I could still mess up and make mistakes. I am just trying to keep doing what I am doing, working hard and achieving stuff.'

Murray, who two weeks ago became the first person to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year for a third time, is the first British tennis player to receive a knighthood or a damehood.

Damehood comes in year of retirement

Jessica Ennis-Hill has been awarded a Damehood in the New Year Honours, just a couple of months after the London 2012 Olympic heptathlon champion announced her retirement from athletics.

Embargoed to 2230 Friday December 30Ken Dodd in Liverpool after he was awarded a Knighthood for serv

Embargoed to 2230 Friday December 30Ken Dodd in Liverpool after he was awarded a Knighthood for services to entertainment and to charity in the New Year Honours list. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday December 30, 2016. See PA HONOURS stories. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Having taken time out to have son Reggie, the 30-year-old had added Olympic silver to her collection earlier this summer in Rio, after she finished just 35 points behind Belgium's Nafissatou Thiam.

Ennis-Hill also recently won her third world title after retirement when Tatyana Chernova's results were annulled for doping offences.

The 30-year-old said she would be able look back on a career of 'amazing memories', although admitted retirement was 'one of the toughest decisions I've had to make.'

In her October statement on her Instagram account, Ennis-Hill said: 'I know that retiring now is right. I've always said I want to leave my sport on a high and have no regrets and I can truly say that.'

Ennis-Hill's senior breakthrough came in 2006 when she won bronze at her only Commonwealth Games - finishing behind winner and team-mate Kelly Sotherton - before she won gold at the 2010 European Championships and also landed the World Indoor Pentathlon title the same year.

The victories were part of her dominance of the sport from 2009 on to glory at London 2012.

Veteran comic, frontman, actress and fashion designer honoured

Others who will claim the title Sir in the new year include Kinks frontman Ray Davies, 72, and veteran comic Ken Dodd, 89, recognised for services to the arts, and entertainment and charity, respectively.

Turning to his trademark turn of phrase, Dodd said of the honour: 'I'm very proud, I'm very, very happy and full of plumptiousness. I feel highly tickled.'

Singer-songwriter Davies said: 'Initially I felt a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed but after thinking about it, I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write.'

Also among the 1,197 people honoured is American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, 67, who becomes a dame in the diplomatic and overseas list for services to fashion and journalism.

Academy and Tony award-winning actor Mark Rylance, 56, is knighted for services to theatre, and opera singer Bryn Terfel gets the same honour for services to music.

Keeping Up Appearances actress Patricia Routledge, 87, is made a dame for services to the theatre and charity.

Stage and television actor Tim Pigott-Smith, 70, award-winning actress Helen McCrory, 48, and 40-year-old James Bond star Naomie Harris are appointed OBEs for services to drama.

Also selected for an OBE is double Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan, for services to drama production.

Thirteen years after her husband was awarded the same honour, Victoria Beckham, 42, is made an OBE for services to the fashion industry. News of the former pop star's accolade leaked earlier in the week, ahead of the official Friday night embargo.

Team GB celebrated in record-breaking Olympics year

In a year that saw Team GB bring home a record-breaking haul of medals from the Rio Olympics, many athletes have been honoured, and some upgraded after being recognised following the London 2012 Games.

Champion rower Katherine Grainger, 41, the first female Olympian to win five medals at five Games, becomes a dame for services to rowing and charity.

She said she did not struggle to keep the news secret, adding: 'It has been easy to keep in some ways because it is an enormous honour and one I did not really expect, so in a way by not telling anyone, it doesn't feel real yet.'

Two married sporting couples have also been honoured, with cycling stars Jason and Laura Kenny being upgraded to CBEs for services to the sport.

Kate Richardson-Walsh receives an OBE, while wife Helen Richardson-Walsh is made an MBE following Great Britain's first women's Olympic hockey gold medal. The rest of the team were also made MBEs for services to the sport.

Max Whitlock, 23, who claimed gold on the pommel and floor, as well as winning an all-around bronze, is honoured with an MBE for services to gymnastics.

He said: 'This is a real honour for me.

'It is a great feeling now to see it on the name card - the three letters after my name - and it gives me a lot of motivation.'

Two-time Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams described her upgrade to an OBE as 'amazing', saying it had topped off a great year.

She said: 'I recognised the seal on the letter so I had an idea what might have been in there. I've been dying to tell everybody.'

Greater diversity in this year's Honours

This year sees the greatest number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background recipients in the history of the Order of the British Empire, represented by 9.3% of the successful candidates.

Awards include a damehood for Professor Elizabeth Anionwu, Emeritus Professor of Nursing, for services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal, and a knighthood for Professor Shankar Balasubramanian, Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Cambridge.

Women make up more than half of those being honoured, with 603 earning an award.

Around 10% of the honours are for work in education, and feature a knighthood for Professor Barry Ife, principal of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a knighthood for military historian Professor Antony Beevor.

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