The contribution of British Jews to the nation’s cultural life was recognised as the director of Tate Modern, the sculptor Anish Kapoor, actress Claire Bloom and the founder of the Jewish Film festival were included in the annual Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Sir Nicholas Serota, the art expert who oversaw the establishment of Tate Modern, was made a member of the order of the companion of honour for “services of national importance”. Sir Nicholas, who was knighted in 1999, becomes one of only 65 people who are entitled to hold the honour at any one time.
Seventeen years after the first UK Jewish Film Festival, its founder and director, Judy Ironside, was made an MBE for services to drama. “I’ve had friends phoning from around the world — news travels fast,” said Ms Ironside. “When you start, you don’t have any idea where it might go, and it depends on the audience,” she added. “If people didn’t come, it wouldn’t happen.”
Knighted for services to visual arts, Kapoor — born in Bombay to an Iraqi Jewish mother — said he was “humbled”. The sculptor expressed his gratitude for “all the people who have helped me during my career”.
Thomas Heatherwick, designer of the cauldron that held the 2012 Olympic flame, described being made a CBE an immense honour. “I’m proud to have had the chance to work on projects of national significance,” he said.
Theatre school founder Anna Scher was made an MBE, while art collector and philanthropist Janet Wolfson de Botton became a Dame for charitable services to the arts. She chairs the Wolfson Foundation, which offers grants to promote excellence in a range of fields.
British Jews were also honoured for their philanthropic and charitable contributions, with Dr Leonard Polonsky, who donated £1.5 million so Cambridge University could build an online collection of rare books, becoming a CBE. Merseyside businessman Max Steinberg, who as chief executive of Liverpool Vision, has been a key figure in the city’s regeneration, said he was surprised to have been given a CBE and that it was really a credit to his “excellent team”.
Professor Michael Stratton, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, received a knighthood for services to medical science. Lewis Bronze, CEO of Espresso Education, was honoured with an MBE for Services to Education.
Norma Brier, former Norwood chief executive, was made an OBE for services to children and people with learning disabilities. She said that attitudes towards people with disabilities had changed “1,000 per cent” in her time at the charity. “In the 1980s, the parents of disabled children were still afraid to ask for help. For us, it has always been the inspiration to enable sufficient support so they didn’t have to feel that way.”
“It’s so much better, but there is still so much more to do.”
Other recipients included Leslie Rose, the patron of Make-a-Wish Foundation UK, who was made an OBE for services to children and families, and school governor George Pincus, who was made an MBE for services to education. Lewis Bronze, a former editor of Blue Peter, was made an MBE for services to education.
Jeweller Laurence Graff said he was “extremely proud” to be given an OBE. Haim Levy, president of the Gibraltar Jewish community, was made a CBE, while philanthropist Michael Moritz, chairman of Sequoia Capital was made a KBE.
Stanley Coorsh, chairman of the trustees of the Sandymount Regeneration Project, was honoured with a British Empire Medal for services to the community in Glasgow.
Aldenham parish councillor Gillian Balen was made an MBE for services to health and the community in West Hertfordshire, while breast cancer survivor Angela Cox, who now guides women suffering from the disease, was made a medallist of the Order of the British empire.
“I never could have imagined this when I was diagnosed — I didn’t even think I would be alive,” she said.