NRI awarded MBE for charitable services to street children

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London, Jun 14 (UNI) Surina Narula of Indian origin has been awarded the Member of the British Empire for her voluntary services to street children in India, in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2008.

Another NRI and head of the charity trust to support education of children of poor Indian widows, Raj (Rajinder) Loomba, has been honoured with Commander of the British Empire in the list of 959 people. They are among 16 other Indian-origin men and women honoured this year. Indian origin British playwright Tanika Gupta has been honoured with an MBE.

Gupta is best known for her plays Gladiator Games and Sugar Mummies. Many of those honoured have been involved in charitable or voluntary work, or undertaken extra-curricular activities linked to their professions.

In addition, the proportion of previously under-represented groups, including women and people from minority ethnic communities, has increased since the last list, in keeping with an overall improving trend.

The list also includes of men and women who have "defied time in their contributions to British culture, sport and industry". For instance, Russell T. Davies, the man who revived the fortunes of Doctor Who and the persistent time-lord of British television: Des O'Connor, 76, the talk-show host, singer and latter-day presenter of the Channel 4 show Countdown.

June Brown, another almost eternal presence on the small screen, is appointed MBE for playing the sanctimonious and judgmental Dot Cotton on the BBC soap East Enders, as well as for her charity work.

Paul O'Grady, who once made his living as the drag queen Lily Savage, and has latterly carved out a career as a successful daytime television host, also appears on the honours list. The writer and comedian Victoria Wood, the celebrated caricaturist Gerald Scarfe and the prolific crime writer Lynda La Plante, are all appointed CBE. Joan Bakewell, one of the first women to carve a career in radio and television only to be dubbed, to her dismay, "the thinking man's crumpet" becomes a Dame. Michael Nyman, the composer who wrote the score for the award-winning film The Piano, is appointed CBE.

Sportsmen with an equally impressive longevity have also been recognised. The boxer Joe Calzaghe, who recently passed the ten-year mark as the World Boxing Organisation super-middle weight champion, is appointed CBE.

Lawrence Dallaglio, the World Cup winner and colossus of the England rugby union team, who retired last month at the age of 35, is appointed Order of the British Empire. Bill Beaumont, another former England captain, and afterwards a team captain on the television show A Question of Sport is appointed CBE. Kelly Smith, the Arsenal and England footballer, is appointed MBE.

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