Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 23 August 2019

Thai cave rescuers honoured with highest British bravery awards

Richard Stanton and John Volanthen have been given the George Medal in the 2019 New Year Honour List

John Volanthen, centre, received a George Medal in the New Year Honours List. AP
John Volanthen, centre, received a George Medal in the New Year Honours List. AP

Four of the British divers at the heart of the successful rescue in July of 12 child footballers from a cave in Thailand have been recognised in the annual New Year Honours List announced on Saturday morning.

Richard Stanton, who had previously been made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 2012 for services to cave diving, and John Volanthen were both given the George Medal, one of Britain’s highest honours to recognise bravery; Christopher Jewell and Jason Mallinson received the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

Among those granted knighthoods were the author Philip Pullman, creator of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, as well as the former England cricket captain Alastair Cook, who stood down from international duty in September after 161 Test and 12,472 runs.

The England football team’s exploits in the World Cup in Russia this summer, where they unexpectedly reached the semi-finals, saw manager Gareth Southgate become a medallist of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), while his captain Harry Kane was made an MBE.

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, the third British man to win the event, earned an OBE.

In the arts, singer and model Twiggy will become Dame Lesley Lawson, and the children’s writer Julia Donaldson, who created the Gruffalo series, will now be a Commander of the British Empire (CBE). The same honour was given to actress Sophie Okonedo, musician Nicola Benedetti and journalist Chris Packham

John Redwood, one of the Brexiteer Conservative MPs who have been a thorn in the side of prime minister Theresa May’s efforts to negotiate a withdrawal agreement with the European Union, received a knighthood for his political and public service.

More than 1,100 people received awards on the 2019 list, which almost reached gender parity with 47% of recipients being women. More than a tenth of candidates (12%) came from a BAME background, with 4% considering themselves to have a disability.

Updated: December 29, 2018 03:03 AM