South West leaders recognised in New Year’s Honours

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis (Credit: Creative Commons 4.0 / Edwardx)

There are knighthoods for the founders of Glastonbury and Wetherspoon in the New Year’s Honours, while Bristol mayor Marvin Rees has been awarded an OBE.

Michael Eavis, now 88, hosted the first music festival in 1970 and was the driving force as it grew to be a globally-recognised event attracting more than 200,000 people and the world’s largest performers to Somerset.

His knighthood, for services to music and charity, follows his CBE in 2007.

Exeter-based Tim Martin, who has enjoyed a high profile as an outspoken entrepreneur and Brexit supporter, has been recognised for services to hospitality and culture ahead of the pub group’s 40th anniversary..

Wetherspoon employs 42,000 people across more than 800 pubs, generating sales of £5m a day. Its 2023 annual report emphasised the pub group’s contribution to the UK economy, detailing £6bn of taxes paid in the last 10 years.

Marvin Rees

Marvin Rees, the mayor of Bristol, has been awarded an OBE for services to local government.

He said: “I’m deeply honoured to have been awarded an OBE for services to local government by His Majesty King Charles III. This would not have been possible without the support of my family, my team, and many other fellow Bristolians over a number of years.

“Together, we have delivered a lot. Since 2016, to give just two examples, Bristol has built over 12,500 new homes to tackle the housing crisis and secured the world-first Bristol City Leap deal, which plans £630 million of clean energy investment by 2028.

“In my final four months as Mayor of my home city, our focus remains on delivering for Bristol as we continue building a City of Hope, where nobody is left behind.”

Peaches Golding OBE, His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County and City of Bristol, added: “I am delighted that the National Honour awarded to Marvin Rees OBE, and to other worthy recipients in the region, recognises the immense contributions made to strengthen the fabric of society. Congratulations to everyone!”

National business figures from outside the South West were also recognised.

TalkTalk Group chief executive Tristia Harrison has been awarded a damehood, while Easyjet chair Stephen Hester, who led the restructuring of RBS Group and has also been chief executive of RSA Insurance Group and British Land, receives a knighthood.

There are CBEs for AJ Bell founder Andy Bell, PwC’s UK and Middle East boss Kevin Ellis, and Charles Woodburn, chief executive of defence giant BAE Systems which employs 40,000 people in the UK.

Retailer and high street specialist Mary Portas has received an OBE, as has Andrew Murphy, who recently left his role as chief operating officer at John Lewis to run toy retailer The Entertainer.

Other notable recipients from the South West include:

Companion of the Order of the Bath

  • Polly Theresa PAYNE Director General, Policy, Department for Culture, Media and Sport. For Public Service



  • Henrietta Rosamund Clare BARKWORTH-NANTON Co-Founder and Patron, The Joanna Simpson Foundation and Chair, Refuge. For services to People Affected by Domestic Abuse and Homicide
  • Catherine Jane Uttley DOVEY Co-Founder, Beacon Collaborative and Director, Rosa Fund. For services to Philanthropy, to Women and Girls, to the Arts and to the Economy
  • Professor Penelope Clare ENDERSBY FREng Chief Executive Officer, Met Office. For services to Meteorology, to Defence Science and to Technology
  • Professor Ronald Edmund HUTTON FBA Professor of History, University of Bristol. For services to History



  • Nigel Christopher ASHTON Councillor, North Somerset Council. For Political and Public Service
  • Sarah Jane CRESSALL Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Creation Station. For services to Creativity in Education, Entertainment and Business
  • Dr Kathryn Jean MARKS Deputy Director, Environment Agency. For services to Flood Risk Management and to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • Dr Jane Patricia MONCKTON-SMITH Professor of Public Protection, University of Gloucestershire. For services to Criminal Justice
  • Amy Sarah PERRIN Founder, The Marmalade Trust. For services to Older People
  • Steven Ross SAVORY Chief Executive Officer, Gloucestershire Learning Alliance. For services to Education.
  • Marcus Edward TRESCOTHICK MBE Mental Health Ambassador, Professional Cricketers’ Association. For services to Mental Ill Health



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