New Year Honours: Lewis Hamilton knighted as Rob Burrow becomes MBE

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has been knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

The Briton, 35, sealed a seventh drivers’ title at the Turkish Grand Prix in November – equalling Michael Schumacher’s championships record.

Rugby league legend Rob Burrow is made an MBE for services to rugby and his awareness campaign since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

British Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong also becomes an MBE.

The former British number one, 37, represented Great Britain in the event – previously known as the Fed Cup – before becoming captain in 2016.

Others made an MBE include former Tottenham and Chelsea striker Jimmy Greaves and ex-Wolves midfielder Ron Flowers, both World Cup winners with England in 1966.

Greaves, who later became a popular television personality, suffered a severe stroke in 2015 and his son Danny said of the MBE: “We are very, very proud of Dad. Always have been, always will be.

“At almost 81, to receive an honour from Her Majesty the Queen is just something very, very special.”

Following rugby union side Exeter Chiefs’ domestic and European titles last season, director of rugby Rob Baxter is made an OBE while captain Joe Simmonds becomes an MBE.

“I couldn’t quite work out if it was real or whether it was spam or someone having bit of a prank,” Baxter said of the moment he received the news.

“It turned up by email and not in an official letter. You download it, read it and check who it has been emailed from with a Google search.

“I was sat there with my wife, both of us in a slightly bemused state. My family are delighted.”

Former England captain Gillian Coultard has been appointed an MBE for services to football, along with former Swansea City and Wales forward Alan Curtis.

Chairman of the Racecourse Association Maggie Carver has been made a CBE, as has former jockey Bob Champion and chief executive and secretary of the R&A Peter Dawson.

Promoter Barry Hearn becomes an OBE for services to sport, having been involved in boxing, snooker and darts among other sports.

“It has been a great joy to be involved in such a wide range of sports for over 40 years,” said Hearn.

“To be recognised for that work is an honour.”

Former Rugby Football League chairman, ex-Football Association chief executive and former BBC head of sport Brian Barwick, now chairman of football’s National League, receives an OBE.

Meanwhile, Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby chair Kevin Aitchison is made an MBE, and footballer-turned-boxer Curtis Woodhouse is among those to receive the British Empire Medal.

Hamilton honoured after historic year

Hamilton won his first world title with McLaren in 2008, with further successes in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

He clinched a seventh World Championship and became the most successful F1 driver ever when he won the Turkish Grand Prix in November 2020.

The Mercedes driver had already surpassed Schumacher’s record number of race wins the previous month, with Hamilton’s total now standing at 95.

After the Istanbul victory, Hamilton said he felt like he was “only just getting started”, adding: “To all the kids out there, dream the impossible.”

He said he would “love to stay” in F1 and wanted to continue to campaign for change when it comes to human rights, diversity and environmentalism.’He’s going to ignite an army of Hamilton wannabes’

Former world champion Damon Hill told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s fantastic the way he calls out to all the young kids. He’s going to ignite a whole army of Hamilton wannabe emulators and he deserves his knighthood.

“He’s always has been an exceptional talent but it’s incredible what he’s achieved this year. It’s not been a good year for most of us on the planet but it’s been a pretty good year for Lewis.”

Burrow among those recognised for charity work

Several sporting names have earned their place on the honours list through charity work, with their contributions during the coronavirus pandemic recognised.

Burrow, who made 493 appearances for Leeds Rhinos, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019, two years after retiring from playing.

With the support of his former club and the rugby league community, the 38-year-old has spent the past year working to raise awareness of the degenerative condition, which affects how nerves in the brain and spinal cord function.

Also recognised for his charity work is former jockey Champion, who fought cancer to win the Grand National on Aldaniti in 1981.

The 72-year-old has been made a CBE for his work with the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, which he founded two years after his fairytale win.

“I’m so proud,” Champion said. “But really it’s for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust, and all the people involved in it. The award is for them really not just me.”

In rugby union, former player Matt Hampson has been appointed an OBE after founding the Matt Hampson foundation.

The 36-year-old was paralysed from the neck down in 2005 following an accident in training and set up his foundation to offer support to others who have suffered catastrophic sporting injuries.