New Year Honours 2020: Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody becomes OBE

Gary Lightbody performing a Snow Patrol concertImage source, Getty Images

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody is among almost 100 people from Northern Ireland who feature on the Queen's New Year Honours list.

He becomes an OBE for services to music and charity.

This year his band's 2006 ballad Chasing Cars was named the most-played song of the 21st Century on UK radio.

On Saturday the government apologised after it accidentally published addresses of more than 1,000 New Year Honour recipients online.

The file - which included details of senior police officers and politicians - was uploaded to an official website on Friday evening and removed on Saturday.

The Cabinet Office told the BBC it was "looking into how this happened".

The PSNI said it was aware of "reports regarding the publication of addresses belonging to New Year's Honours recipients online" and was "working closely with the relevant Government Departments to determine what action, if any, needs to be taken".

Also recognised for services to music and charity are the Catholic clergymen who perform as the classical group The Priests - they each become an MBE.

Father David Delargy and brothers Fr Martin O'Hagan and Fr Eugene O'Hagan are priests from the Diocese of Down and Connor.

They have been singing together since the 1970s and released their debut album as The Priests in April 2008 after signing a record deal with a major label.

Image source, Seesaw PR
Image caption,
The Priests have found a worldwide following over the past decade

They have since sold several million records worldwide and have performed for the Royal Family, Pope Francis and the Irish president.

"Music can cut across all kinds of divides and difficulties and people can be united through song and harmony," Fr Eugene O'Hagan told BBC News NI.

"We have experienced that in the last 11 years."

The announcement of Lightbody's recognition comes just a few days after the death of his father Jack, who had dementia.

Lightbody founded the charitable organisation the Lightbody Foundation, which makes donations to charities in Northern Ireland.

It has helped groups promoting dementia care as well charities covering sectors including mental health, special educational needs and young people.

In a post on Instagram on Friday, the singer, from Bangor in County Down, said his father had "taught me and gave me so much".

View this post on Instagram

Just before Christmas my dad, Jack, passed away. We had his funeral on christmas eve with family and close friends. I’m not posting about it to make anyone sad and that’s why I waited until after Christmas to say anything at all I just wanted to pay tribute to the man that taught me and gave me so much. He was the funniest man I’ve ever known. Even in the depths of his dementia he could still be as sharp and hilarious as ever at times. He was also the most social person I ever knew. He could talk to anyone. I’m in introvert so I’m shy around strangers but he would walk into a room full of strangers and within ten mins know all their names and their stories and be having the craic with them all. It was a gift he never lost. We would walk into a restaurant and as we were being shown to our table he’d be talking to everyone at every other table we passed: “what are you having there, that looks good” and he’d be standing there chatting while we’d already be at our table waiting on him probably rolling our eyes. Ha. What a legend. All my friends that knew him loved him. The messages I got when they found out were of heartbreak but also each of my friends have been telling me stories of how my dad made them laugh and I’m so glad that all of people’s memories of him seem to be of happy times. My mum Lynne looked after him in his illness for years and her strength in all this has been a mighty thing to behold. She is a titan. Also my mum, my sister sarah (who is also a titan) and my awesome niece honey and myself would like to say a massive thank you to the staff at Oakmont Care Home for their wonderful care of him over the last eight months. If anyone met my dad at an SP gig or feels like they know him through the songs I wrote about him (Soon, I Think Of Home, Lifening) then, if you like, please raise a glass to him the next time you have a wee drink and say “cheers big jack”. He would‘ve liked that. I don’t know what life looks like without him, I can’t even comprehend it, but he’ll be in my heart and all my family’s hearts for the rest of our lives. I love you dad. There were none like you. Your son, gary.x

A post shared by Gary Lightbody (@garysnowpatrol) on

Sports stars also feature in the Queen's Honours, with the former Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes becoming an MBE for services to football.

The 40-year-old, from Cookstown in County Tyrone, retired this year after winning 112 international caps.

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Image caption,
Aaron Hughes' long career in football came to an end in June

The Paralympic star Michael McKillop becomes an MBE for services to disability awareness and athletics in Northern Ireland.

The runner from Newtownabbey, County Antrim, was diagnosed with a mild form of cerebral palsy when he was aged two.

He has four Paralympic gold medals, four World Championship gold medals and two European Championship golds.

Media caption,
Michael McKillop says receiving an MBE is "very important and very special"

Speaking to BBC News NI, he said he was proud to be honoured.

"I run for the island of Ireland - I'm apolitical," he said.

"It doesn't matter who you are, what you are - if you support me I represent you whenever I go on the world stage and I've always stood by that."

The honours system

Commonly awarded ranks:

  • Companion of Honour - Limited to 65 people. Recipients wear the initials CH after their name
  • Knight or Dame
  • CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • OBE - Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • MBE - Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • BEM - British Empire Medal

Wilma Erskine, the outgoing secretary manager of Royal Portrush Golf Club, also makes the list, becoming an OBE for services to tourism and golf.

It is not the first time she has made the Queen's Honours list - she was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2015.

Ms Erskine retired as secretary manager after The Open Championship returned to the course in July - she had been in her role at the club for 35 years.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Wilma Erskine was a key figure behind the scenes at The Open at Royal Portrush in July

Alastair Hamilton, the former chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland, becomes a CBE.

He received his honour for services to economic development in Northern Ireland.

He stepped down from his post at the business development agency this year after a decade in the role.

Image caption,
Roseann Kelly said she was humbled by all the messages of congratulations

Roseann Kelly, the chief executive of Women In Business, becomes an MBE, also for services to economic development.

She has led the business support network over the past 10 years, helping to grow its membership from 80 to more than 2,500.

Ms Kelly said the phone had not stopped ringing with congratulations messages.

"I feel very honoured and humbled by the messages," she said.

"In Women in Business, we have delivered a lot with a very small team. We are a small charity - lots and lots of hard work and lots and lots of passion have gone into making it the success that it is.

"We have all worked really hard to get the members we have and support them in their development and their careers."

Here is the full list of Northern Ireland recipients of New Year Honours:

Order of the Bath

Noel Henry Lavery

Alastair David Hamilton

Cheryl Lamont

Andrew George Browne

Wilma Isobel Erskine-Heggarty BEM

Patrick Francis Gray

John Healy

Olive Paula Hill

Gary Lightbody

Timothy Losty

Maria Louise McHugh

Alan Smith

Anthony Baxter Stevens

Mercer Lindsay Todd

Robert David Boyd

Emily Florence Brunt

Raymond Michael Burrows

Maureen Winifred Campbell

Paula Marie Dawson

David Delargy

Andrew Robert Freeburn

Tracy Helen Pringle Hamilton

Aaron William Hughes

Karen Jayne Hutchinson

Antonia (Toni) Johnson

Roseann Kelly

Angela Lynam

Francis Ronald Lyons

William Michael Mawhinney

Kay Louise Maddieson

Stephen Patrick McBrearty

Michael Gerard McKillop

Philip McLaughlin

Yvonne Mulholland

Eileen Rose Mullan

Ciara Angela Nicholl

Eugene Damien O'Hagan

Martin O'Hagan

Catherine Shipman

William John Snoddy

Jiemin Tomita

William John Armstrong

Martha Rosalind Elizabeth Bloomfield

Leslie Alan Carswell

Gary Robert Chambers

Mary Adams Corkum

Margaret Roslyn Davidson

William Joseph Eames

James William Murray Fairbairn

Frederick Ivor Ferguson

Michael John Armand Gaillard

Thomas Harold Gardiner

John Alexander Gibson

Geoffrey Alan Hegarty

Oliver Garfield Laffin

Frances Lavery

Letty Lucas

Barry Macaulay

George Martin Mace

George Mann

Connor McCarroll

Bernard McComiskey

Bernard Thomas McCullagh

John Alexander McIlrath

Irwyn McKibbin

John Brian McMaster

Sonya McMullan

John Joseph Laurence McNally

Paul Michael

Robert John Montgomery

Alison Sally Glenn Mullan

Patrick Kevin Mullan

Simon Neill

Susannah Virginia O'Neill

Barry John Phillips

Heather Angela Platt

James Neville Pogue

Myrtle Winifred Pogue

Gerard Liam Power

Alison Reddick

Brian Reid

John (Jack) Alexander Reid

Alan Ross

Andrew Conrad Rowan

Alison Doreen Smith

Robert Jeffery Smith

Lynda Joan Storey

Norman Alexander Taylor TD

Thomas Kenneth Taylor

Robert Thompson

Michael Todd

James Kenneth Twyble

Denyse Kathleen Walker

Julie Dawn Forsythe

David Lowans

David James McIlwaine

David Harbinson