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COVID-19 experts, athletes and Daniel Craig make the U.K.'s 'Honours List'

Damehoods, knighthoods and a slew of other honors were announced in the United Kingdom this week with the publication of the New Year Honours List 2022.

The annual tradition pays tribute to people for achievements made over the previous year.

Among the honorees was actor Daniel Craig, who nabbed the Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George for services to film and theatre. Craig, who recently appeared as British spy James Bond in the movie No Time To Die, received the same award as the literary secret agent he portrays on screen.

Many of the awards went to athletes, some of whom participated in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games last summer.

Married cyclists Laura and Jason Kenny received a damehood and a knighthood. Swimmer Adam Peaty received an Officer of the Order of the British Empire award for taking home a gold medal and raising awareness of mental health issues, while diver Tom Daley also got an OBE for his first-place prize and in recognition of his advocacy for LGBT issues.

Top public health officials also received awards for their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.K., which has seen another surge of infections recently due to the omicron variant.

The chief medical officers of England, Scotland and Wales each received knighthoods. Emily Lawson, who oversaw the rollout of the U.K.'s vaccination program, was given a damehood.

Tobias Weller and Max Woosey, ages 11 and 12, among the youngest ever award recipients to make the list, received British Empire Medals for fundraising efforts related to the pandemic.

"These recipients have inspired and entertained us and given so much to their communities in the UK or in many cases around the world," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

"The honours are an opportunity for us to thank them, as a country, for their dedication and outstanding contribution."

The government said it was the most ethnically diverse Honours List yet, with 15.1% of recipients coming from an ethnic minority background. Some 63% of honorees were recognized for community work on the local level. In all, 1,278 people received an award.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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