The Big Yin Honoured With Knighthood

Billy Connolly has been given a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in a landmark year that will see him hit the milestone age of 75.

The Scots comedian and actor, affectionately known as the Big Yin, becomes a Sir in recognition of his services to entertainment and charity.

The accolade - handed out in the centenary year of the Order of the British Empire - comes 14 years after he was made a CBE in 2003.

The gong represents a high point in a notable year for the star, as he turns 75 in November. He has already been the subject of an ITV special celebrating his career this year and had three giant murals erected in his honour in his native city of Glasgow.

There is also recognition for a number of well-known faces in Scotland, including JK Rowling, Judy Murray and Emeli Sande.

Harry Potter author Rowling, who was made an OBE in 2001, now becomes a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in light of her services to literature and philanthropy.

The latest honour comes days before fans of her boy wizard creation mark 20 years since Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone was first published. The Potter stories went on to captivate a worldwide audience and become the best-selling book series in history.

Her charitable contribution is also significant. She set up Volant, a charitable trust which supports projects that alleviate social deprivation, and founded Lumos, a charity working to transform the lives of institutionalised children.

Judy Murray adds to the honours already handed to her family by becoming an OBE.

The tennis coach and former captain of Great Britain's Fed Cup team is being recognised for her work to grow the sport and for encouraging more women into sport.

Her son, world number one Sir Andy Murray, was knighted in the New Year Honours List, while his brother Jamie was made an OBE last year.

For her services to music, singer and songwriter Sande is made an MBE.

Brit Award winner Sande, who was raised in Alford, Aberdeenshire, found huge success with her debut album Our Version Of Events in 2012 and went on to perform at the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics.

Professor Anton Muscatelli, the principal of Glasgow University, is knighted for his services to higher education.

Known as a world-class economist, he chairs the Standing Council on Europe which advises the Scottish Government on securing Scotland's relationship with the EU.

North-east businessman Professor Charles Skene is made a CBE, as is Alasdair Hay, chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

From the world of politics, former Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon becomes a CBE. A former education spokeswoman for her party, she was among the first intake of MSPs in 1999 and stood down at the last Holyrood election.

Former Labour health spokesman Dr Richard Simpson, who also retired from the Scottish Parliament in 2016, is made an OBE.

Being given the same honour is the Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and the Kirk's longest-serving woman parish minister when she retired from ministry last year.

Also becoming an OBE is Hugh Shaw, the Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention.

He hit the headlines last year when he oversaw the operation to recover the Transocean Winner oil rig that ran aground on Lewis.

Mel Young, the co-founder of the Big Issue in Scotland and the founder of the Homeless World Cup, is made an MBE for services to sport and social entrepreneurship.

Also being made an MBE is Edinburgh chef Tommy Miah, who founded the International Indian Chef of the Year Competition more than 25 years ago.

A number of others are awarded MBEs for services to their communities.

They include Eunice Olumide - a fashion designer, actress and one of the first black Scottish models - and Carolyn Little, volunteer director with Support in Mind Scotland, for services to mental healthcare.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: "In the centenary year of the Order of the British Empire, the Queen's Birthday Honours have recognised the achievements of a diverse and inspiring number of our fellow Scots. I congratulate each and every one of them.

"Billy Connolly's knighthood celebrates a truly great Scot, the irrepressible 'Big Yin' who has entertained millions, but also his dedicated charity fundraising. He is an ambassador for both humour and humanity, and this recognition is richly deserved."

Congratulating a number of other recipients, he added: "It is also fitting that Her Majesty has also recognised the many 'unsung heroes' of Scottish communities. The length and breadth of Scotland, an army of volunteers have shown unstinting dedication and selflessness, week in, week out."

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