Birmingham & Black Country

Comedy actress Meera Syal honoured

Meera Syal
Image caption Meera Syal used her experiences growing up in the West Midlands for her first book

Wolverhampton-born actress and writer Meera Syal has been recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours.

Syal, who is famous for comedy roles on television in Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No.42, becomes a CBE.

One of the pioneers for black footballers in the 1970s, ex-West Bromwich Albion defender Brendon Batson, is among those appointed OBE.

Former chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Matt Baggott, of Solihull, is knighted.

Sir Matt, who retired from the job in September after five years, is honoured for services to policing in the United Kingdom.

He 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."

Syal, who is honoured for services to drama and literature, scripted the film Bhaji On the Beach and starred in the radio series Goodness Gracious Me, which later transferred to TV.

Image caption Brendon Batson worked for the Professional Footballers' Association

She used her experiences growing up in the West Midlands for her first book Anita And Me, which was later adapted for the screen.

Syal, who is married to her screen colleague Sanjeev Bhaskar, also scripted the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Bombay Dreams.

Batson, previously an MBE, receives the OBE for services to football.

The former defender, from Birmingham, worked for the Professional Footballers' Association and has also been an adviser to the Football Association on equality.

Others recognised include ex-Cadbury chairman Sir Adrian Cadbury, of Solihull, who has become a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to business and the community in the UK, particularly Birmingham.

Walsall College principal and chief executive Jatinder Sharma is honoured for services to education while Denise Ellen Moreton, from Wolverhampton, is recognised for services to the Women's Institute Movement in Staffordshire. Both are appointed OBE.

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