Norfolk-based Rick Wakeman 'stunned and proud' after being made a CBE

Rick Wakeman officially opening the Diss Museum in 2016.

Rick Wakeman officially opening the Diss Museum in 2016. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Norfolk living musician Rick Wakeman has said he is "stunned and genuinely very proud" after being made a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours.

The former Yes keyboardist, who has recorded with numerous stars including David Bowie, T. Rex and Sir Elton John, is recognised for services to music and broadcasting.

The 72-year-old, who has lived in Scole since 2004, and has immersed himself in community life in the Diss area, said he wished his parents were alive to share the achievement.

He said: "It's a mixture of stunned and genuinely very proud. In a strange way, my first thought was, 'Gosh, I wish my mum and dad were here to witness this' but then I realised, of course, that my dad would be 105 and mum would be 103 - so the odds were heavily stacked against that.

"I am quite literally stunned and proud. Friends who know me and have been in the business know I never expected a thing like this. I can only say thank you very much. I really feel very honoured and proud."

Rick Wakeman has been made a CBE in recognition of his music and TV career

Rick Wakeman has been made a CBE in recognition of his music and TV career - Credit: PA

In December the famed keyboardist and songwriter thanked NHS heroes for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic by playing piano for a mini concert at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Mr Wakeman, whose solo albums have sold more than 50 million copies, said of the pandemic: "It has been horrendous for all musicians for the last year, year and a half, two years in fact - and for everybody associated with the entertainment industry. It has been really tough.

"I have carried on making music but sometimes you are making music and go, 'Why am I doing this? There is no end in sight as to when we can play live, when we can do stuff'.

Southwold Arts Festival welcomes Rick Wakeman. Photo: Andy Boag

Rick Wakeman has been made a CBE in recognition of his music and TV career. - Credit: Archant

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"As a recognition, for me coming out of lockdown, coming out of everything, to get this is even more special."

The musician added that he could not "think of anything comparable in my life that has happened that has completely gobsmacked me so much".

"I have always been very patriotic," he said. "I am a devout royalist, a patriot as they say. I feel very proud, and always have been, to be British. I feel proud to be in the profession I am in."