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Queen's Birthday Honours for Eavis and Sallis

Michael Eavis

Story by Jack Foley

GLASTONBURY founder and organiser Michael Eavis and veteran actor Peter Sallis are among the entertainment figures to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Michael Eavis, who staged the first Glastonbury Festival in a Somerset field in 1970, is made a CBE for services to music, while Sallis – the star of popular TV show Last Of The Summer Wine and the voice of Wallace in Wallace & Gromit – is made an OBE for services to drama.

Commenting on his honour, Eavis – a 71-year-old dairy farmer – told Xfm that he was slightly shocked to have heard the news, especially since he had spent 37 years often battling the authorities to secure each festival.

Being welcomed in with open arms was therefore something of a surprise – but he was extremely flattered.

He told the BBC: “I’m so pleased not only for myself, but for the hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who have had faith in me and supported my ideas through thick and thin.”

Actor Peter Sallis, meanwhile, referenced one of his famous roles upon hearing the news, joking: “Wallace’s reaction to getting an OBE would undoubtedly be to get another helping of cheese.”

Peter Sallis

The 86-year-old star became a household name playing Norman Clegg in long-running BBC sitcom Last Of The Summer Wine and, most recently, won over a new generation of fans as the voice of the hapless Wallace in Nick Park’s animated films.

Sallis started as an amateur actor in the RAF during World War II but failed to get into the aircrew because of a medical problem and so taught radio procedures at RAF Cranwell. He has subsequently found success in film, on stage and on TV in a varied career.

Other entertainment honours

Author Salman Rushdie, singer Emma Kirkby, comedian Barry Humphries, musician Joe Cocker and writer Stephen Poliakoff were also honoured.

Rushdie, 59, is made a knight for his services to literature, while classical soprano Kirkby, 58, becomes a Dame for services to music.

Rushdie was famously forced into hiding in 1989 when Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against the author for his novel The Satanic Verses, labelling it blasphemous – but the Iranian government withdrew its support for the death penalty in 1998 and matters have calmed down.

The author was born in Mumbai and has written many other acclaimed works, including Midnight’s Children and Shalimar The Clown.

Dame Edna star Humphries, meanwhile, is to be made a CBE for services to entertainment.

And singer Joe Cocker is made an OBE for services to music. He said he was “humbled to be in such illustrious company”, referencing the list of other British musicians he admired.

Vetran actress Sylvia Syms, 77, Carmen Munroe, Glen Murphy and Bill Pertwee also received honours, as did prolific comedy writers Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement, whose TV collaborations include Porridge, The Likely Lads and Lovejoy. They are made OBEs.

And screenwriter Stephen Poliakoff, whose TV drama Gideon’s Daughter won actors Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt Golden Globes earlier this year, is made a CBE.