British divers who helped in Thai cave rescue among people decorated in 2019 New Year Honours list

British divers who helped save a youth football team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand are among those recognised in the 2019 New Year Honours list.

Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, who were the first divers to reach the children, have been awarded the George Medal, the second highest civilian gallantry award.

Vern Unsworth, 63, who is suing Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk for labelling him a “pedo guy”, has been made an MBE alongside Joshua Bratchley and Lance Corporal Connor Roe, while Christopher Jewell and Jason Mallinson have been given the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for exemplary acts of bravery.

Reacting to the announcement, Mr Unsworth said: “This was a team effort and I’m very honoured to have been recognised, particularly as you don’t engage in a major rescue expecting this outcome.

“For me, after saving the boys, this is the icing on the cake.”

John Volanthen (left) and Richard Stanton (right) have both been awarded the George Medal, the second highest civilian gallantry award (Picture: Getty)

Mr Jewell from Cheddar, Somerset, who is the diving officer of the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC), praised the “amazing support” they received during and after the rescue.

“People from all over the country and the world have reached out to us to offer congratulations and express their gratitude,” the 36-year-old said.

MORE: Police chief ‘really sorry’ for couple held over Gatwick drone disruption
MORE: Liverpool fan who was left in a coma following Champions League assault eating independently

“Behind every one of the cave divers being honoured is a supporting cast of family, friends, rescue volunteers and employers.

“The support and help from all these people made it possible for us to complete a successful rescue.”

Sixties supermodel Twiggy has received a damehood for services to fashion, the arts and charity (Picture: Ian West/PA Wire)

The British divers answered a call by Thai authorities to join the search after the group of 12 boys disappeared in the cave system in Chiang Rai province on June 23.

They join 1,148 recipients in the 2019 New Year list, including 43 people recognised for their acts responding to the terror attacks in Manchester and London in 2017.

Sixties supermodel Lesley “Twiggy” Lawson receives a damehood for services to fashion, the arts and charity, and best-selling author Philip Pullman gets a knighthood.

Michael Palin has been awarded a knighthood for services services to travel culture and geography (Picture: PA)

Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter gets an OBE, while Monty Python star and travel documentary maker Michael Palin is awarded a knighthood.

Acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan, whose movies include Inception and Dunkirk, gets a CBE for services to film.

Divers Mr Stanton and Mr Volanthen are among 12 recipients of bravery awards announced at the same time as the main honours list, including seven Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue firefighters who receive Queen’s Gallantry Medals after saving elderly residents from a serious blaze at a care home in Cheshunt in 2017.

A Queen’s Commendation for Bravery also goes to 14-year-old Joe Rowlands, from Cheshire, whose sustained efforts saved his father Paul from drowning after their kayak capsized off Anglesey.

No awards will go to anyone involved in Grenfell Tower relief work until the public inquiry has concluded following talks with emergency services and community groups, organisers said.

Women in the list include Bafta-winning actress Thandie Newton (Picture: PA/PA Wire)

Women make up 47% of the total of the list – the lowest percentage since 2013.

They include Bafta-winning actress Thandie Newton, who gets an OBE for services to film and charity, and 90-year-old Daphne Selfe, the world’s oldest working professional model, who gets a BEM for services to women and fashion.

Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, author of the feminist dystopian work The Handmaid’s Tale, becomes a member of the Order of the Companions of honour for services to literature, while Dr Helen Pankhurst, a senior adviser at CARE international, and great-granddaughter of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, also gets a CBE for services to gender equality.

There is an MBE for Claire Turnham, founder of the Victims of Viagogo group, which helps customers reclaim money on event tickets, for services to consumer rights.

In sport, England football captain Harry Kane receives an MBE (Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire)

In sport, England football captain Harry Kane gets an MBE while national team manager Gareth Southgate gets an OBE, both for services to football and in recognition of England’s semi-final run at the 2018 World Cup.

Former England cricket captain Alastair Cook is knighted for services to cricket while Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas gets an upgrade from MBE to OBE to add to his BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2018 accolade.