Sarah Stevenson reveals pride after MBE award

Stevenson reveals pride after turbulent year ends with MBE award

Twelve months in which she experienced soaring career triumphs and tragic personal loss have ended with a happy twist for Sarah Stevenson after she was awarded an MBE.

The 28-year-old taekwondo world champion may not have made the all-male shortlist for Sports Personality of the Year, but is among an assortment of sporting figures recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

Honours: Sarah Stevenson has been awarded an MBE

Honours: Sarah Stevenson has been awarded an MBE

She won the world title in May but also had to contend with losing her mother and father, Diana and Ray, to cancer, meaning that the pre-Olympic year is one she will always remember.

‘It’s fantastic to be recognised for the hard work I have put into taekwondo
for the past 21 years,’ said Doncaster-born Stevenson. ‘I know my parents would have been so proud of this award. It’s also a boost for the sport in this county and I am proud to be an ambassador for taekwondo.’

From the world of football there is a knighthood for someone nearly sixty
years Stevenson’s senior, a man arguably best known for being unafraid to sack managers at Aston Villa when he controlled the club.

Going for gold: Stevenson hopes to star at London 2012

Going for gold: Stevenson hopes to star at London 2012

Entrepreneur Doug Ellis, 87, often known as ‘Deadly Doug’, becomes a knight due to his extensive charity work, which has seen him invest heavily in community and social projectsin the West Midlands.

‘I’m so humble. I can’t believe it,’ he said.

Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy have rounded off another memorable year
for Northern Ireland golf by being awarded an OBE and MBE respectively.

Sir Doug: Former Villa chairman Ellis has been honoured

Sir Doug: Former Villa chairman Ellis has been honoured

Clarke,43, won The Open — earning him the runner-up position at Sports Personality last week — while his younger compatriot recovered from a dramatic collapse at the Masters in April to win the US Open less than three months later with a record low score.

Clarke said: ‘I am very proud for me and my family.’

McIlroysaid: ‘Many people on the Honours list have made huge personal sacrifices and contributed significantly to society during their lives. Ifeel very fortunate to be in their company.’

FormerFormula One world champion Nigel Mansell has received a CBE for his work as President of UK Youth, a body which helps develop skills and self-esteem in young people.

Forhis services to cricket and charity, ex-umpire Dickie Bird is made an OBE. Bird said: ‘It is a tremendous honour and I feel very humble. I am delighted and honoured.

‘People always ask me what stands out, what do I remember best I have
always said that standing in three World Cup finals brought my best memories but to get this is the greatest honour of my life.’

Threefine careers from the two different codes of rugby have also been recognised: Leeds Rhinos prop and England captain Jamie Peacock, the most successful player in Super League history, is made an MBE.

That award also goes to Scotland’s Union record appearance maker Chris
Paterson and Wales flanker Martyn Williams, who have won 109 and 103 caps respectively.