30/12/2016 22:30 GMT

Knighthood 'A Dream Come True', Says Olympic Champion Mo Farah

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah has described being given a knighthood in the New Year Honours as a "dream come true" for a boy who arrived in the UK unable to speak English.

The distance runner, 33, who successfully defended his 5,000 and 10,000 metre titles at the Rio games, is recognised for services to athletics.

He is joined at the top of an honours list heavy with Team GB heroes by tennis world number one Andy Murray, who took gold in Brazil and becomes a knight for services to tennis and charity, while heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill is made a dame.

Sir Mo said: "I'm so happy to be awarded this incredible honour from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight.

"Looking back at the boy who arrived here from Somalia, not speaking any English, I could never have imagined where I would be today - it's a dream come true.

"I'm so proud to have had the opportunity to race for my country and win gold medals for the British people, who have been my biggest supporters throughout my career."

Others who will claim the title Sir in the new year include Kinks frontman Ray Davies, 72, and veteran comic Ken Dodd, 89, recognised for services to the arts, and entertainment and charity, respectively.

Turning to his trademark turn of phrase, Dodd said of the honour: "I'm very proud, I'm very, very happy and full of plumptiousness. I feel highly tickled."

Singer-songwriter Davies said: "Initially I felt a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed but after thinking about it, I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write."

Also among the 1,197 people honoured is American Vogue editor Anna Wintour, 67, who becomes a dame in the diplomatic and overseas list for services to fashion and journalism.

Academy and Tony award-winning actor Mark Rylance, 56, is knighted for services to theatre, and opera singer Bryn Terfel gets the same honour for services to music.

Keeping Up Appearances actress Patricia Routledge, 87, is made a dame for services to the theatre and charity.

Terfel, 51, said: "What an immense honour to receive such an accolade. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for all the support and encouragement I have received from the great British public and further afield.

"I am truly humbled."

Stage and television actor Tim Pigott-Smith, 70, award-winning actress Helen McCrory, 48, and 40-year-old James Bond star Naomie Harris are appointed OBEs for services to drama.

Also selected for an OBE is double Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan, for services to drama production.

The 66-year-old said: "I feel honoured and humbled to receive such an amazing 'award' for a job that I simply love doing - storytelling through clothes."

She added that the honour marked the end of a "most extraordinary" year, one that saw her win the best costume design Oscar for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Thirteen years after her husband was awarded the same honour, Victoria Beckham, 42, is made an OBE for services to the fashion industry. News of the former pop star's accolade leaked earlier in the week, ahead of the official Friday night embargo.

In a year that saw Team GB bring home a record-breaking haul of medals from the Rio Olympics, many athletes have been honoured, and some upgraded after being recognised following the London 2012 Games.

Champion rower Katherine Grainger, 41, the first female Olympian to win five medals at five Games, becomes a dame for services to rowing and charity.

She said she did not struggle to keep the news secret, adding: "It has been easy to keep in some ways because it is an enormous honour and one I did not really expect, so in a way by not telling anyone, it doesn't feel real yet."

Two married sporting couples have also been honoured, with cycling stars Jason and Laura Kenny being upgraded to CBEs for services to the sport.

Kate Richardson-Walsh receives an OBE, while wife Helen Richardson-Walsh is made an MBE following Great Britain's first women's Olympic hockey gold medal. The rest of the team were also made MBEs for services to the sport.

Max Whitlock, 23, who claimed gold on the pommel and floor, as well as winning an all-around bronze, is honoured with an MBE for services to gymnastics.

He said: "This is a real honour for me.

"It is a great feeling now to see it on the name card - the three letters after my name - and it gives me a lot of motivation."

Two-time Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams described her upgrade to an OBE as "amazing", saying it had topped off a great year.

She said: "I recognised the seal on the letter so I had an idea what might have been in there. I've been dying to tell everybody."

The list, which does not only honour new stars of the sporting world, sees Sir Roger Bannister made a Companion of Honour for services to sport.

Vera Baird QC, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, said being made a dame for services to women and equality was "very delightful and surprising news".

This year sees the greatest number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background recipients in the history of the Order of the British Empire, represented by 9.3% of the successful candidates.

Awards include a damehood for Professor Elizabeth Anionwu, Emeritus Professor of Nursing, for services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal, and a knighthood for Professor Shankar Balasubramanian, Herchel Smith Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Cambridge.

Women make up more than half of those being honoured, with 603 earning an award.

Around 10% of the honours are for work in education, and feature a knighthood for Professor Barry Ife, principal of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a knighthood for military historian Professor Antony Beevor.

The Parliamentary and Political Service Committee has made a number of recommendations, including knighthoods for Julian Brazier, Conservative MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, David Crausby, Labour MP for Bolton North East, and Steve Webb, former minister and ex-Liberal Democrat MP for Thornbury and Yate.

In total 322 BEMs, 503 MBEs and 222 OBEs have been announced.

Future honours lists will focus on services and work with children and young people, people who work to encourage social mobility and people who work in enterprise and business.

It comes in light of Prime Minister Theresa May setting new priorities for the system, in which she would also like people who work against all forms of discrimination recognised.