UK Olympic athletes, Posh Spice and Andy Murray honored in Queen's New Year List

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By Adela Suliman LONDON (Reuters) - Olympic athlete Mo Farah, tennis star Andy Murray, actor Mark Rylance, comedian Ken Dodd and Kinks musician Ray Davies have been knighted in Queen Elizabeth's New Year's Honors List. Spice Girl and designer Victoria Beckham was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) while other fashion notables included Anna Wintour editor-in-chief of "American Vogue" and accessories designer, Anya Hindmarch. The biannual honors list is released on the Queen's official birthday in June and at the end of each year. It celebrates those who have made significant contributions to British life as well as providing public recognition for exceptional achievements or service. Many British sporting stars of the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics were recognized including damehoods for athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill who retired after the games and rower Katherine Grainger, the first female Olympian to win five medals at five games. Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes in 1954 was made a Companion of Honour, one of the Queen's highest awards. David Adjaye received a knight bachelor award. His most recent project was the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. while Turner Prize-winning painter Chris Ofili received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire). A host of diplomats and ambassadors were also recognized for their exceptional services to Britain overseas. Not all the recipients were household names, 74 percent of people were recognized for carrying out outstanding works in their local communities, while just over half the recipients were women. The Queen honored 1,197 people in total. Entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of "Social Bite" a sandwich shop that supports the homeless and whose customers have included George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio, was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). One of the oldest recipients was 94-year-old Janet Gillespie who received a British Empire Medal for her charitable service, voluntarily selling commemorative poppies for over 60 years. (Editing by Stephen Addison)

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