FEW people would argue with businessmen Graham Wylie and John Thompson being honoured by the Queen in the New Year’s Honours list.

Mr Wylie, the owner of Heddon-on-the-Wall’s Close House, was knighted with a Knights Bachelor for his services to business, while Thompsons of Prudhoe chairman Mr Thompson was made an MBE for services to the economy and community in Prudhoe.

While there was no controversy on a local level, the same cannot be said for awards on a national level, with two people in particular signalled out for criticism.

A damehood awarded to former director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, was described as “a reward for failure” by several media outlets.

Ms Saunders’ tenure saw a series of collapsed rape trials after evidence wasn’t shared with defence lawyers. She was also criticised after a £30m operation investigating allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials failed to convict a single journalist, and over her handling of Operation Yewtree – an investigation into historic sex abuse allegations.

However, the CPS has said she “led the CPS during one of its most challenging periods” and has dedicated over 30 years to public service.

Meanwhile, a petition calling for former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith’s knighthood to be revoked has gathered more than 236,000 signatures, citing cuts made during his time as work and pensions secretary.

In Hexham, the general mood among residents seemed to be that the honours system should reward people who go above and beyond for others, rather than just giving titles to people for doing their job.

Martin Johnson said he thought the honours system was mostly fair.

He said: “I think it’s good. It’s a fair system. I like the idea of people working for charities and helping people who get honours.

“The political ones, I’m more concerned about, because that’s their job.”

David Atkinson agreed, adding: “I know there’s some people who get awards for working in the community, but some people just get them because they do their job.”

Sheila Manouchehri was less complimentary about the system.

She said: “I think it’s a load of rubbish. To me, I think it should be for people who have genuinely done something. It should be people who do charity work just because they’re lovely people. It would be a great idea if it was given to the right people.”

Jack Famelton praised the traditional aspects of the honours system.

He said: “I think they’re an excellent tradition. If you’re an outstanding member of the community, it gives you an extra bit of recognition.”

Rosie Garret-Jowsey agreed with Martin and David, claiming that the honours often recognised the wrong people.

She said: “I think people who are recognised for services to charity and things like that is important.

“I feel less enthusiastic about businessmen getting it, but that’s my problem with capitalism.”

And Richard Metcalf also took issue with honours being awarded to civil servants.

He said: “In general, I think the system is corrupt in that the wrong people are rewarded.

“For example, civil servants who are just doing their job, or people who make large donations to political parties.

“We should focus much more on people who do good work for no pay.”