Celebrities

June joins fellow Albert Square icons Barbara Windsor and Wendy Richard in receiving an honour from the Queen. "It's lovely," she said
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Des, here with wife Jodie, was delighted by his gong. "I just wish my mum and dad were still here to see it," he revealed. "They would have been elated"
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Channel 4 chat show host Paul was told of his honour on his 53 birthday. "I thought it was a wind up," he said

EastEnder June receives an MBE in Queen's birthday honours

14 JUNE 2008
Her onscreen character would probably celebrate with a cup of tea. Actress June Brown, no doubt, has other ways to mark being named in the Queen's birthday honours list.

Soap star June, who has played EastEnders' Dot Cotton for more than 20 years, has received an MBE for her services to drama and charity. The 81-year-old actress is president of kids' charity the Michael Elliott Trust, which gives youngsters with special needs the chance to care for abandoned donkeys.

"It's lovely being given an honour," she said. "My family are very happy for me."

This year's gongs brought a special birthday surprise for chat show host Paul O'Grady. The Liverpudlian received news of his MBE on the day he turned 53.

"I thought it was a wind-up," he admitted. "I'm the last person, I'd have thought, who would be given an MBE."

Joining them in the honours were Des O'Connor and Victoria Wood, who both become CBEs, as well as broadcaster Joan Bakewell, who has been made a dame. From the world of sport, recently retired rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio and boxer Joe Calzaghe were also among those honoured.

For Countdown host Des, who has been entertaining for more than 50 years, the medal is "a great plus".

He added: "I haven't done a day's work in my life. I've done a day's effort, but not work, because it's something I love. It's a very nice thing to happen in your life."