Britain’s ‘everyday heroes’ ­honoured by the Queen for their work in combating Covid

BRITAIN’S pandemic heroes have been ­honoured by the Queen for their work in helping to combat Covid.

Some 262 have been handed gongs — from vaccine tsar Kate Bingham to a cab firm boss who gave free rides to NHS staff.

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Business guru Kate Bingham led the Vaccine Taskforce which placed early orders for jabs

Margaret Keenan, 91, receives her second dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine

Yet Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty misses out, with insiders insisting he will get a title when the pandemic is over.

In total, there are 1,126 Queen’s Birthday Honours gongs — exactly half going to women.

In a sign of the national unity seen during the pandemic, 62 per cent recognise community work.

A record 15 per cent of them go to Brits from an ethnic minority background.

Mum-of-three Bingham, who led the Vaccine Taskforce behind the jabs rollout, is made a dame.

She is among nine members of the unit honoured for landing as many jabs as possible for the UK.

David Hunt is head of vaccine operations at AstraZeneca

University of Oxford’s, Sarah Gilbert, led the team behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab

She said she was “proud but also humbled to be recognised in a year when NHS workers have risked their health and their lives in fighting Covid”.

Scientists behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab have also been honoured. Its co-designer Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at Oxford’s Jenner Institute, is made a dame.

Prof Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, and Prof Peter Horby, joint chief investigator for the Recovery trial searching for coronavirus treatments, are knighted.

Eight staff at AstraZeneca get gongs, including head of vaccine operations David Hunt, who receives a CBE.

The drugs giant’s executive vice-president, Sir Mene Pangalos, was “delighted” for them and proud of the company’s 81,000-plus staff worldwide.

He said many had “put their lives on hold to commit to a bigger humanitarian cause”.

BIG DIFFERENCE

Prof Keith Willett, NHS England’s national director of emergency planning and incident response, is knighted.

Among ordinary Brits honoured are Rhys Mallows, 25, of Pontyclun, near Cardiff, who produced more than a million bottles of hand sanitiser for NHS trusts and care homes.

Bottling firm boss Rhys, who receives the British Empire Medal (BEM), said: “We’re not scientists, but we really felt that if we can give people little bullets to protect themselves, then it’d make a big difference.

“We calculated that we have sanitised 81million hands.”

The owner of Cambridge taxi firm CamCab, Rowhi Mahmoud Nemer, 63, is made an MBE for community service after he offered free rides to NHS staff.

John Brownhill, 54, and his catering firm boss sister Amanda Guest, 58, also receive the BEM after setting up Food4Heroes to provide meals for NHS staff.

Hand sanitiser hero Rhys Mallows has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the NHS and key workers

Prof Peter Horby is the joint chief investigator for the Recovery trial searching for coronavirus treatments

Amanda, of Holmfirth, West Yorks, said they were inspired to act by a viral video of nurse Dawn Bilbrough pleading with shoppers not to stockpile food.

Boris Johnson said: “Throughout the pandemic we have seen countless examples of everyday heroes.

“We should take heart from the stories of those receiving honours and be inspired by their courage and kindness.”