Sir Mick Jagger 'thrilled' to be knighted


BRITAIN: Britain's two new knights, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and soccer legend Bobby Robson, are celebrating their accolades in Queen Elizabeth's jubilee birthday honours list.

Sir Mick Jagger (58), who recently jokingly complained on TV about missing out on royal recognition, said he was "delighted at the news". He is preparing to play a series of gigs around the US later this year.

For Sir Bobby Robson (69), who declared himself "delighted and thrilled" at the award, it comes on the day England face Denmark in the crucial last 16 knock-out round of the World Cup. He masterminded England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 1990. He now manages Newcastle United.

Downing Street moved quickly to damp down threatened criticism over the knighthood for the Indian food entrepreneur and millionaire, Mr Gulam Noon, who has given more than £100,000 to the Labour Party.

A spokesman for the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, insisted the donations had not influenced the award, which was approved by the all-party honours scrutiny committee. Its members agreed the tycoon deserved the honour for his services to business.

The spokesman praised Mr Noon as a "very fine industrialist and philanthropist" and went on: "He has expanded his small family business into one of London's major companies and has made a significant contribution to the wider economy by promoting business and skills development."

Those with household names who were honoured include playwright Harold Pinter (Companion of Honour), Poirot actor David Suchet (OBE), drag artiste Danny La Rue (OBE), opera director Jonathan Miller (knighthood), Shakespearean producer Trevor Nunn (knighthood), former Today programme interviewer Sue MacGregor (CBE), author Sebastian Faulks (CBE), and former newspaper editor Max Hastings (knighthood). There are awards, too, for this year's London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe (MBE), transatlantic rower Debra Veal (MBE) as well as MBEs for members of Scotland's gold-winning curling team at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Cork-born Danny La Rue, probably Britain's favourite drag artist, is made an OBE for charitable services. He has, over the years, raised many thousands of pounds in the fight against AIDS.

"I feel 20 feet tall," he said. "This is the proudest moment of my life." Elsewhere there is an OBE for TV actor David Suchet, whose egg-shaped bald head and stocky frame made him ideal to play Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, his most famous role.