Our hearty congratulations to Annette Penfold, and indeed everyone featured in today’s paper who has received recognition as part of the New Year’s Honours list.
The national headlines are rightly dominated by awards to Olympians – with the emergence of Sir Bradley Wiggins one of the worst-kept secrets of the past week – but yet again there is a breadth to the awards that is a welcome reminder of daily life in this country.
There are those who complain that honours lists are too often dominated by the great and the good – that it is the Establishment giving out gongs to the Establishment and that it does not reward those of us not working in the public sector.
And there may be an element of truth in that. While for several years we’ve been told that the list has tried to shine a spotlight on the lollipop ladies, binmen and long-serving teachers around us, there is perhaps not much evidence of that.
However, that is not to demean any of the achievements of the people we feature today. As with all years, what today’s list does is reveal the range of work that is needed to keep the country moving day after day.
Whether it’s Richard Wootton, of Gosport, who is in charge of making sure that Coastguard communications are faultless, or Royal Marines Band Service Lieutenant Colonel Nick Grace, who provided the music for the jubilee celebrations, or Richard Owen, who has spent 19 years in the police specials and now organises a division, it is an illustration of the hidden wheels turning in an everyday life that many of us take for granted.
As Mr Owen says: ‘I just wanted to do my bit.’ And that’s right – this list should be seen as a roll-call of people who are willing to do their bit for the greater good.
Just as the Olympians played their part in an unforgettable summer, so has everyone featured today played their part in our society.
We thank them for that, and it is why any carping at the recipients is misplaced. Congratulations again to one and all.