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Hundreds of sports stars, celebrities, scientists, community champions and politicians have been recognised in the New Year Honours.

It’s been a strange year, hasn’t it? From Brexit to Trump, we’ve seen our political and cultural landscape change forever, provoking feelings of uncertainty and fear.

This year’s honours are the most diverse ever. In the almost 100-year history of the Order of the British Empire there has never been a greater number of individuals from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background. It is also refreshing to see those that campaign for equality and diversity, and those that are proudly lesbian and gay rewarded by the Queen.

Inga Beale, a vociferous campaigner for LGBT rights, has been made a dame. She became chief executive of the insurance market in 2014, becoming the first woman to hold the position in Lloyd’s 328-year history. In 2015, Beale became the first woman and bisexual person to top the annual power list of the world’s leading 100 LGBT executives.

Beale, 53, said she was “incredibly proud of the work that we [Lloyd’s] are doing to encourage diversity”.

Equalities campaigner Sarah Garrett has been awarded an MBE.

Ms Garrett co-founded the British LGBT Awards, Alternative Parenting Week and the Diversity Careers Show and Opportunities for Women – national events that help people from diverse backgrounds discover new employment opportunities.

“This has come as a complete surprise but it is a real and genuine honour to be recognised,” she said.

Founder of LGBT History Month and CEO of Schools Out UK, Tony Fenwick is receiving an MBE.

Fenwick said: “I am delighted and honoured to receive an MBE but I regard it as an award for all of us at Schools OUT UK who work as volunteers and give up our valuable time to make things happen.”

Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh have also been named in the list, along with the rest of the winning Team GB women’s hockey team.

Kate Richardson-Walsh, team captain, is to receive an OBE, while her wife gets an MBE.

The hockey players became the first married couple to play together on the same team at the Olympics.

Nicola Adams, the first woman to get an Olympic boxing title gets an OBE.

The 34-year-old scooped gold in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics after overcoming prejudices to women around the sport.

Lee Pearson has been given a knighthood for services to equestrianism, marking a memorable end to 2016 which saw him win an 11th Paralympic gold at the Rio Games.

Pearson, who carried the flag for Great Britain at the opening ceremony in Brazil, took his overall tally to 14 medals, spanning five Paralympic Games from Sydney 2000.


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