Pop star Annie Lennox receives an OBE in the New Year Honours List today for her work fighting Aids and poverty in Africa.
The former Eurythmics singer heads a host of entertainment and sport stars awarded honours, including Poirot actor David Suchet and Ryder Cup-winning golfer Graeme McDowell.
Also recognised are football referee Howard Webb, who made up for England's disappointing World Cup performance by taking charge of the final in Johannesburg, and veteran actress Sheila Hancock.
Some of the honours for senior figures from the business world could prove controversial.
There are knighthoods for Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways, Roger Carr, chairman of energy giant Centrica, and Richard Lambert, the outgoing director-general of the CBI.
This year Sir Roger, 64, who lives in Kensington, London, has presided over a huge increase in profits at Centrica-owned British Gas and the hotly-disputed sale of Cadbury to US food giant Kraft.
Sir Martin, 63, who lives in Oxted, Surrey, had a busy 12 months dealing with strikes by BA cabin crew and massive disruption to flights caused by snow and the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud, as well as overseeing the sale of Liverpool Football Club.
The list also features the first honours for MPs since June 2008, when Peter Viggers, whose claim for a duck house later became the emblem of the expenses scandal, was knighted for services to Parliament.
Anne Begg, 55, who became the first full-time wheelchair user elected to Parliament when she was returned as Labour MP for Aberdeen South in 1997, is made a dame for services to disabled people and equal opportunities.
Peter Bottomley, 66, the Conservative MP for Worthing West in West Sussex, who was first elected in 1975 and served as a junior minister under Margaret Thatcher, is knighted for public service.
Aberdeen-born Lennox, who turned 56 on Christmas Day, has sold more than 80 million albums worldwide with the Eurythmics and as a solo star.
Her hit songs include Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), No More 'I Love Yous' and Why, and she has won a string of awards including Grammys, Brits, Ivor Novellos and an Oscar.
She now splits her time between her music and campaigning on behalf of Aids and HIV victims and poverty-stricken women and children in the developing world.
Lennox is an Oxfam global ambassador and was inspired by Nelson Mandela to launch the Sing campaign to raise money to prevent the spread of HIV in South Africa.
Suchet, 64, from London, who receives a CBE for services to drama, has played a huge variety of roles on stage and screen during an acclaimed acting career spanning more than 40 years.
But he is best known as Agatha Christie's debonair Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in the long-running ITV series.
Suchet, whose brother is broadcaster John Suchet, played the sleuth in the classic Murder On The Orient Express in a new adaptation broadcast on Christmas Day.
McDowell, 31, from Portrush in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, is awarded an MBE after a sensational golfing year.
In June he became the first European winner of the US Open since 1970, and in October he clinched the Ryder Cup for Europe in a heart-stopping final match at Celtic Manor in Wales.
Another MBE goes to Webb, 39, a police sergeant from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, for services to football after he became the first Englishman to referee a World Cup final since 1974.
Spain beat Holland 1-0 in a stormy finale to the tournament in South Africa which saw Webb handing out a record 14 yellow cards and sending off Everton's John Heitinga.
Hancock, 77, who was born on the Isle of Wight and now lives in London, gets a CBE after a long career ranging from Royal Shakespeare Company plays and TV sitcoms to a Carry On film and the recent West End
adaptation of Sister Act.
A committed Quaker, she has also written a moving book about her life with her late husband, Inspector Morse actor John Thaw.
A CBE goes to celebrated rock climber Joe Brown, 80, who was born in Manchester and now lives in Llanberis, Snowdonia - nicknamed the "human fly" for his breathtaking televised ascents of mountains in the UK and worldwide.
There is an OBE for rugby star Mike Catt, 39, who retired from playing in May having won 75 England caps, including the 2003 and 2007 World Cup finals, and toured with the British and Irish Lions.
Lady Antonia Fraser, 78, from London, the widow of playwright Harold Pinter and best-selling author of biographies of Marie Antoinette and Mary Queen of Scots, is made a dame for services to literature.
A CBE is awarded to Turner Prize-winning artist Steve McQueen, 41, from London, who directed the 2008 film Hunger about the 1981 hunger strike by Republican prisoners in Northern Ireland.
McQueen has lobbied the Royal Mail to issue stamps featuring portraits of British troops killed in Iraq that he produced after being commissioned as an official war artist.
In the film world OBEs go to costume designer Sandy Powell, 50, who has won Oscars for her work on Shakespeare In Love, The Aviator and The Young Victoria, Andrea Arnold, 49, director of Fish Tank, and Manchester-born Burt Kwouk, 80, best known as Cato in the Pink Panther movies.
Award-winning actress Harriet Walter, 60, who has appeared in scores of plays, TV dramas and films over her distinguished career, is made a dame.
Contributions to music are recognised with CBEs for Durham-born record producer Trevor Horn, 61, who has worked with everyone from Paul McCartney to Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and composer Howard Goodall, 52, who created the theme tunes for TV shows including Blackadder and Mr Bean.
There are OBEs for songwriter and guitarist Richard Thompson, 61, a former member of folk-rock group Fairport Convention, and Herbert Kretzmer, 85, the South African-born former Daily Express and Daily Mail journalist who wrote the lyrics for hit musical Les Miserables.
In broadcasting, CBEs are awarded to John Lloyd, 59, producer of Not The Nine O'Clock News, Spitting Image, Blackadder and QI, and former BBC Radio 4 controller Mark Damazer, 55.
Former ITN foreign correspondent Sandy Gall, 83, from Penshurst, Kent, is made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the Diplomatic and Overseas List for his decades of charity work supporting disabled Afghans.
There is a knighthood for Professor Keith Porter, who as a consultant at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham co-ordinates the care of seriously-injured British troops flown back from Afghanistan.
Nasa astronaut Piers Sellers, 55, who was born in Crowborough, East Sussex, and has been on three space flights, receives an OBE in the Diplomatic and Overseas List.
The fashion industry is honoured with CBEs for Katharine Hamnett, 63, the designer known for her slogan T-shirts, and Raymond Kelvin, 55, the founder and chief executive of Ted Baker, and an MBE for designer Alice Temperley, 35.
Mark and Mo Constantine, the husband and wife team behind the internationally-successful cosmetics chain Lush, based in Poole, Dorset, receive OBEs.
As usual, the majority of honours go to unsung local heroes, including MBEs for beekeeper Anne Buckingham, from Farnham, Surrey, and Eric Sutherns, the bridge master of London's Tower Bridge.