Four knights top Honours List

By Robyn Rosen and Dina Rickman, December 31, 2009
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National Theatre director Nicholas Hytner has received a knighthood

National Theatre director Nicholas Hytner has received a knighthood

Community leaders have dominated the New Year Honours List with four knighthoods and almost 20 CBEs, OBEs and MBEs.

National Theatre director, Nicholas Hytner and pharmacologist and philanthropist Dr Ralph Kohn have been awarded knighthoods in this year’s honours.

The honour also went to Erich Reich, chairman of the Kindertransport Group and Association of Jewish Refugees' Kindertransport Committee and to Second Permanent Secretary and the head of International Economic Affairs for the Prime Minister's Office, Jonathan Cunliffe.

Sir Erich, 74, came to the UK as a refugee on the Kindertransport when he was four years old. He has also founded Classic Tours to operate his overseas charity events.

He said: “I’m overawed to receive such an honour. It is a tribute to the work of my team at Classic Tours who tirelessly support my original concept and to my kindred spirits who benefited from and in turn give back to the Kindertransport movement.

“I want to thank the people of Britain for allowing the Kinder to come to the UK and for this amazing honour.”

On the Overseas List, British-born Rabbi David Rosen, honorary adviser on interfaith to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, has been awarded a CBE for services to interfaith relations both in the Middle East and between the UK and Israel.

Speaking from Israel Rabbi Rosen said: “I feel very honoured, and I think it is not just a personal tribute but to all those before me and with me who work hard to promote a better world through deeper understanding and co-operation between religions.”

Hillary Bauer who works for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has received an OBE and counts drafting the Holocaust Bill, which returns cultural objects stolen by Nazis, as one of her greatest achievements.

Ms Bauer, whose father fled Austria in the 1930s, said: “The Holocaust is an event that has been etched upon my mind from my earliest days. This Bill was something we wanted to do for a long time and I have huge personal satisfaction in it.

“I’m incredibly surprised and delighted to be receiving this honour.”

Former United Synagogue president, Peter Sheldon, has been awarded an OBE for his services to the Jewish community.

He said: “I’m very delighted and I hope it reflects the United Synagogue which I have been involved with for so long.

“The most important thing I achieved during my work with the US was the introduction of Tribe, the youth division, which has been a phenomenal success and I’m delighted at how much it has grown.

“We also sorted out a lot of the legacy problems of the past and handed over an organisation which was financially sound, thriving and more energetic than it had been before.”

Braham Murray, the artistic director of the Royal Exchange Theatre Company in Manchester also received an OBE for services to drama.

He said: “I am delighted to receive this honour which reflects the importance the Royal Exchange has achieved nationally and for the community of Manchester and the North West.

Lucy Itkin, a member of Wimbledon and District Reform Synagogue, was awarded an OBE for Services to disadvantaged people, particularly in recognition of her 15 years work as Director of Action for Prisoners’ Families.

Gillian Walnes, founder of the Anne Frank Trust, received an MBE for her services to the trust.

Ms Walnes, 58, set up the trust in 1990 and now runs seven different exhibitions about Anne Frank which visit different locations across the UK.

She said: “I accept this huge honour on behalf of the talented and dedicated team of people who make up the Anne Frank Trust, as well as all those around the UK who have organised and supported Anne Frank exhibitions and projects – they are the embodiment of Otto Frank’s wish that his daughter’s inspirational writing be a general force for good.

“This gives a great fillip to our work in educating young people to reject prejudice and discrimination, a mission which in these uncertain times, is even more needed.”

Last updated: 2:57pm, January 12 2010