Van Morrison, Kerry-born British Council head to be knighted

Belfast singer-songwriter was named in Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honours list

East Belfast-born Van Morrison is to be knighted for services to the music industry. The singer-songwriter was named in Queen Elizabeth’s birthday honours list.

Musician Brian Kennedy said Morrison’s “contribution has been so extraordinary” and he had played through the darkest and brightest of times.

“If anybody deserves the title of Sir it would be Sir Van. I am quite delighted and excited for him.”

Ciarán Devane, the Irishman credited with transforming the United Kingdom's biggest cancer support organisation, Macmillan, has also been awarded a knighthood.


He served for seven years as chief executive of the organisation – which now helps more than 5 million people each year – before going on to head the British Council.

“I would never have imagined being honoured like this. It is beyond thrilling for me personally,” said Devane. “I hope it is also in some way a testament to the great work of my colleagues at Macmillan.”

The son of Kerry-born parents, Devane was educated at Coláiste Mhuire in Dublin before studying chemical engineering at University College, Dublin.

Major policy changes

During his time at Macmillan, he is credited with helping to bring about major policy changes in the UK – including free prescription charges for cancer patients and other welfare reforms. He led work that has revolutionised cancer care in the UK, including the construction of UCH Macmillan in North London, which provides treatments “designed by the patients”.

People from Northern Ireland recognised in the honours list include Police Service of Northern Ireland chief constable George Hamilton, who receives the Queen's Police Medal after 29 years of service in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Assistant chief constable Will Kerr receives the OBE.

Will Haire, the leading civil servant in the Stormont Department for Social Development, becomes a Companion of the Bath for services to government in Northern Ireland. Robert Adair, chief executive of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners, becomes a Commander of the British Empire for services to the UK ports industry and voluntary service to business in Northern Ireland.

Renewable energy

Mark Nodder

, chairman and chief executive of Co Antrim-based manufacturer


, which built London’s latest double decker red buses, is given the OBE.

David Surplus

, director at the B9 Energy Group, receives the same award for services to renewable energy. The firm is involved in generating wind energy.

David Wall, a director at the Department for Social Development, established a programme supporting people under threats of assaults from paramilitaries. He established an organisation supporting education for ex-prisoners. He receives an OBE.The North had a total of 85 recipients in the honours list. Most of the awards were at MBE level.