Sun, Dec 30, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Rescue divers, Twiggy make UK honors list


English model, actress and singer Twiggy attends a service of thanksgiving for Sir Peter Hall at Westminster Abbey in London on Sept. 11.

Photo: Reuters

A team of British divers who helped save a junior soccer team stranded in a flooded cave in Thailand were awarded in Britain’s traditional New Year Honours list alongside former supermodel Twiggy and Monty Python’s Michael Palin.

The seven underwater specialists involved in the remarkable rescue were also joined on the prestigious annual achievement list — announced on Friday — by Hollywood filmmaker Christopher Nolan, actor Jim Carter from Downton Abbey, best-selling author Philip Pullman and leading Brexiteer lawmaker John Redwood.

Four of the divers were given awards for exceptional bravery, while the three others were made Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

John Volanthen and Richard Stanton — the first of the divers to reach the 12 stricken children and their coach — were awarded the George Medal, the country’s second-highest civilian gallantry award.

Stanton had already been made an MBE in 2012 for his rescue services.

Fellow divers Christopher Jewell and Jason Mallinson received the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, while Joshua Bratchley, Connor Roe and Vernon Unsworth were decorated with MBEs.

“For me, after saving the boys, this is the icing on the cake,” said Unsworth, who has also risen in fame after suing Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk for labeling him a “pedo guy.”

“This was a team effort and I’m very honored to have been recognized, particularly as you don’t engage in a major rescue expecting this outcome,” he added.


Sixties it-girl Lesley Lawson, better known as Twiggy, received a damehood for services to fashion following a decades-spanning career modeling, singing and acting.

The 69-year-old told Britain’s Press Association that the recognition was “wonderful, but it makes me giggle.”

“The hardest thing has been keeping it a secret,” she said.

Acclaimed director Nolan, an Oscar nominee this year for Dunkirk — as well as in 2011 for Inception and in 2002 for Memento — was given a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to film.

After graduating from low-budget independent movies, he has directed some of the biggest blockbusters ever made — including several Batman films — and has become renowned for his technical and narrative daring.

Pullman, the creator of the hugely successful His Dark Materials trilogy, received a knighthood for services to literature.

The 72-year-old said he was “very surprised and honored.”

“I’m most grateful of all to those who continue to read my books, and I hope they don’t have to work as hard as those who edit them,” Pullman said.


Palin, 75, became the first of Monty Python’s revered comedy cast to receive a knighthood.

The veteran actor, who has reinvented himself as a travel documentary maker and writer in later life, received a knighthood for his international contributions to travel, culture and geography.

He said news of the accolade had yet to sink in.

“I don’t think it will be until I see the envelopes addressing me as Sir Michael Palin,” he said.

Meanwhile, as Britain prepares to leave the EU in March after decades of membership, John Redwood — one of parliament’s most prominent euroskeptics — was made a knight.

Redwood was part of a group of eurosceptics who plotted to bring down the government of former British prime minister John Major, who called them the “bastards.”

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