Norfolk's finest reap Royal honours

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Two of Norfolk's best known characters lead a New Year's Honours list line-up which also sees accolades for veteran rocker Rod Stewart, Coronation Street star Johnny Briggs and the Queen's grand daughter Zara Phillips.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Two of Norfolk's best known characters lead a New Year's Honours list line-up which also sees accolades for veteran rocker Rod Stewart, Coronation Street star Johnny Briggs and the Queen's grand daughter Zara Phillips.

EDP writer and broadcaster Keith Skipper is made an MBE for services to the community in Norfolk, while Turkey magnate Bernard Matthews is made CVO (Commander of the Royal Victorian Order) for his work with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

Mr Matthews, who already has a CBE, became a household name thanks to his TV advertisements for his "bootiful' turkey products.

The pair is part of a list featuring Norfolk born business tycoon James Dyson, actor and comedian Hugh Laurie, golfer Ian Woosnam, footballer Steven Gerrard, and former Good Life star Penelope Keith.

Today's list coincides with an announcement that recipients can in future wear a new emblem - in the form of a buttonhole badge - to show that they have been honoured.

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Mr Skipper, who is best-known for his love of the Norfolk dialect, and was founder chairman of the Friends of Norfolk Dialect set up in 1999 to “promote and preserve” the local tongue, said he was proud to receive the award.

And he was now looking for tips on what to wear for his trip to Buckingham Palace.

Other local recipients include a conservationist, a ballet teacher, a teaching assistant, and a cleaner to the Queen at Sandringham.

And there is recognition for Norfolk clergywoman Patricia Atkinson and her work helping street children in India and victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka.

In the world of journalism, Ann Leslie, the globe-trotting Daily Mail reporter who has covered major stories all over the world, becomes a Dame.

There is also an MBE for Ricky "The Hitman' Hatton, regarded as Britain's most popular boxer since Naseem Hamed, who is undefeated in his major career fights as a welterweight and light welterweight, with a record of winning nearly all his bouts by a knockout.