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Hippodrome boss Stuart Griffiths, Meera Syal and Brendon Batson among the New Year's Honours

Mr Griffiths is awarded an OBE for his services to the arts in the city, while Ms Syal and Mr Batson both upgraded their MBEs, with Wolverhampton-born actress Syal made CBE and footballer-turned-administrator Batson made an OBE

Birmingham Hippodrome chief executive Stuart Griffiths
Birmingham Hippodrome chief executive Stuart Griffiths

Birmingham Hippodrome chief executive Stuart Griffiths, comedian Meera Syal and former West Bromwich Albion star Brendon Batson are among many Midlanders celebrating after being recognised in the New Year's Honours.

Mr Griffiths is awarded an OBE for his services to the arts in the city, while Ms Syal and Mr Batson both upgraded their MBEs, with Wolverhampton-born actress Syal made CBE and footballer-turned-administrator Batson made an OBE.

Ms Syal, 53, is recognised for her services to drama and literature while Batson is honoured for his services to football.

The screen star, made an MBE in 1997, has appeared in a host of hit shows including Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars At No 42.

Mr Batson helped blaze a trail for black footballers in the late 1970s alongside fellow Albion stars Cyrille Regis and Laurie Cunningham.

Two other Midland sports stars are both made MBE for their roles in the England women’s rugby team’s World Cup triumph.

Vice-captain and number eight Sarah Hunter, who plays for Lichfield Ladies RFC, and Worcester prop Rochelle Clark – England’s second-most-capped player with 95 appearances – are honoured.

Other Midland recipients include Professor Nigel Thrift, vice-chancellor at the University of Warwick, who is knighted.

He said: “This honour is a wonderful way of helping to mark the very first day of the University of Warwick’s 50th anniversary year.

“To me the award recognises the numerous successes that we have all achieved together over the last ten years.

“I want to thank all those – staff, students, alumni, and our supporters and donors – who have played their part in Warwick’s many attainments.”

Sir Adrian Cadbury, has been awarded Order of the Companion of Honour (CH) for his services to business and community in Birmingham and Solihull.

Elsewhere, former West Midlands Police deputy chief constable Matt Baggott, aged 56, is knighted in recognition of his most recent role as chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The Solihull-based father-of-two, who joined the Metropolitan Police in 1978, said: “This award is an acknowledgement of the courage, commitment and achievements of my policing colleagues without whose immense efforts I would not have been able to fulfil my responsibilities.

“I have been truly fortunate to work with such great people.

“I also want to thank my family and friends for their constant support and encouragement.”

Colin Bowen, a Birmingham scout leader, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to scouting over the last 40 years.

Mr Bowen, from Kingstanding, revealed he initially thought the award letter he received was “a joke”.

“I had a letter through last month and at first I didn’t know whether it was real or whether it was a joke,” he said.

“It was completely out of the blue. When I realised it was real I felt extremely pleased, proud and very surprised.

“But there are a lot of people that do a lot more than me, and go unnoticed.

“I don’t do it to be recognised – I do it for the pleasure and joy it brings the young people.”

The 48-year-old dedicates much of his free time to the biannual Handsworth Gang Show, a self-funded stage show which helps deprived youngsters grow in confidence in the arts.

Altogether, around 40 people from Birmingham and the surrounding area are being celebrated in the 2015 list for their services to education, business, charity and the arts.

Other award recipients include Waqar Afzal Ahmed, prevent manager at Birmingham City Council, who gets an OBE for services to challenging extremism and empowering communities.

Valerie Morris, at the Birmingham NSPCC, has been awarded an MBE for services to children, while Maureen Murray, former programme manager at the Children’s Society, Solihull, gets an OBE for services to disabled children and their families.

Peter Alan Langard receives an MBE for services to the accountancy profession and to charity in Birmingham.

Mr Langard, from Broadwas-on-Teme, near Worcester, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his practice Langard Lifford Hall in April 2014.

The 75-year-old began his career in accountancy when he was 20 before setting up his own practice in King’s Norton.

The practice has supported charity The Pulse Trust, which was set up to make grants primarily to Dudley Road Hospital (now City Hospital), the ER Mason youth charity and other charities too.

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