LONDON – The team of British divers who helped save Wild Boars football team stranded in Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai Thailand were among those awarded in Britain’s traditional New Year Honours, announced on Friday.
The seven underwater specialists involved in the remarkable rescue were joined on the prestigious annual achievement list by Hollywood filmmaker Christopher Nolan and former supermodel Lesley Lawson, better known as Twiggy.
Other recipients include Monty Python actor Michael Palin and Jim Carter from “Downton Abbey”, best-selling author Philip Pullman and leading Brexiteer lawmaker John Redwood.
Four of the divers were given awards for exceptional bravery while the three others were made Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Richard Stanton and John Volanthen — the first of the divers to reach the 12 stricken children and their coach — were awarded the George Medal, the country’s second highest civilian gallantry award.
Stanton had already been made an MBE in 2012 for his rescue services.
Fellow divers Christopher Jewell and Jason Mallinson receive the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, while Joshua Bratchley, Connor Roe and Vernon Unsworth were decorated with MBEs.
“For me, after saving the boys, this is the icing on the cake,” said Unsworth, who has also risen in fame after suing Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk for labelling him a “pedo guy”.
“This was a team effort and I’m very honoured to have been recognized, particularly as you don’t engage in a major rescue expecting this outcome,” he added.
Meanwhile, as Britain prepares to leave the European Union in March after decades of membership, John Redwood — one of parliament’s most prominent eurosceptics — was made a knight.
Redwood was part of a group of eurosceptics who plotted to bring down the government of former Conservative prime minister John Major, who called them the “bastards”.
The veteran Conservative lawmaker — a vocal opponent of Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal, set to be voted on in mid-January — was among three MPs awarded knighthoods.
There had been speculation this year’s honours could be deployed to try to win support for May’s plan — but it appears unlikely with Redwood.
Earlier this week he published a blog outlining “eight things wrong with the withdrawal agreement”.
Overall, 1,148 recipients were named in Queen Elizabeth II’s 2019 New Year Honours List.
By Agence France-Presse