Michael Morpugo has proposed this.
I will add nothing. But do listen to his words.
He’s absolutely right.
They are all members of the Order of Merit, which is the only British honour that is a personal gift of the Sovereign. It is limited to 24 members and with the deaths of Lucien Freud and Joan Sutherland, there are now only twenty two full members and one honorary one; Nelson Mandela.
From inception in 1902, the honour has always been open to women and originally was awarded as a means to acknowledge “exceptionally meritorious service in Our Navy and Our Army, or who may have rendered exceptionally meritorious service towards the advancement of Art, Literature and Science”.
Looking at the current list, there are no military figures, two women, an archbishop, three politicians, of whom one is a Canadian, a playright, several Nobel prize winners, a sculptor, a broadcaster; David Attenborough, several scientists and mathemeticians and a couple of philanthropists. Perming any six from twenty-two would make one hell of a dinner party.
So the Queen has a problem!
She has to fill the two vacancies and she will do this without political interference.
There is only one from the theatre;Tom Stoppard, so such as Alan Bennett, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen must be in the frame. Alan Bennett has already refused a knighthood, so he may not accept. On the other hand, it might have been Benjamin Britten, who initially refused, but accepted when he was told that the honour was the personal gift of the sovereign.
There is no doctor, so perhaps Lord Winston or someone of equal stature should be added. I have one doctor in mind, as he helped me greatly when C died, but I won’t name him here.
There are also no sportsmen or sportswomen on the list and if you look at past holders none came from sport. But then when the order was founded sport was an irrelevance to most people, except for gambling and entertainment. So should this ommission be rectified? In my view the only possible person might have been Chris Brasher, but he died a few years ago. Ian Botham will be another possible in a decade or so, as he is too young at present.
England may have won the First Test at Lord’s yesterday, but I think the bigger winner was Test Cricket, when 28,000 spectators turned up to see the last day. Congratulations too, to the authorities, who let under-16s in free!
This is a headline on a story on the BBC’s web site. Surely, the headline should be something like “Obese Ill-Prepared for the NHS”.
I’d never heard of Cec Thompson, who was one of the first black players to play rugby league for Great Britain, until I found this story on the BBC’s web site. He has just sadly died at 85, after an incredibly full life, which to say the least started very badly.
He is the sort of person, who is an inspiration to everybody. His obituary in the Telegraph tells more.