THE founder of the Great North Run heads the list of North-East recipients in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Brendan Foster, who lives in Stocksfield, has been knighted for his services to international and national sport and culture in the region.

Foster enjoyed a distinguished athletics career, including a gold medal at the 1974 European Championships in Rome, before setting up the Great North Run in 1980 - the year he retired from racing.

The 2020 race was due to be the 40th anniversary of the popular event, with a record 60,000 entries, but it had to be moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Foster, who described the knighthood as a ‘great privilege’, said staging the race, as normal next year, was his ‘big dream’.

Born and raised in Hebburn, County Durham, Foster was awarded an MBE in 1975 before being honoured with a CBE in 2008.

And in addition to his track success and his work with the Great North Run, he is well known to many as a former commentator for the BBC - a job he did between 1980 and 2017.

Reflecting on his latest honour, Foster said: “When I look back, which I’ve only done in the last few weeks, I think how lucky I’ve been to spend my life doing something I love and that I’ve loved since I was a kid, and then the Queen gives me a knighthood for doing it.”

Sir Brendan was just one of many celebrities honoured with Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford accepting an MBE for his role in making the Government U-turn on its decision not to provide free school meals during lockdown.

Others honoured included Joe Wicks, Mr Motivator, Mary Berry, Sir David Attenborough, Dizzee Rascal, Professor Brian Cox, Lorraine Kelly and Adrian Lester.

Elsewhere locally, Gilsland-based RAF Spadeadam personnel were also recognised by Her Majesty.

A total of 41 people from the region were honoured this year.