Arts & Culture, Opinion

15th January 2022

What Really Matters to People: An Alternative New Year Honours List

Each year, Honours Lists are released on January 1st, for New Year, and again on the Queen’s Official Birthday. Awarded by the Queen on the advice of the Cabinet Office, these honours are awarded to those who have championed causes throughout the UK, have made breakthroughs in public life, or have been an inspiration to the nation.

Anyone can make a recommendation if they believe someone is worthy of a title, so we put together a list of worthy candidates that have impacted our own lives. Through directly supporting us to distantly inspiring, here is a list of people… and animals, that have been notable to us throughout 2021.


For most of us, our immediate support network is our family. Over the last couple of years especially, we’ve spent a lot of time either cooped up with family or separated from them. Whichever it has been, we can agree that they’ve been important. Daisy Peile is an aspiring artist and photographer who has taken the time through the pandemic to re-evaluate her priorities and forge a greater bond with her mother.

Throughout 2021, the main person that inspired and supported me was my mum. We have our ups and downs, like all mothers and daughters, but it was over the past year I truly discovered I could open up to her without fear of the consequences. She works so hard to provide me and my sister with the best life we can have, even if it means she doesn’t have the life that she wants. I have always been reserved with her regarding my personal life and relationships, although she has always encouraged me to make my own choices. She only helps me be the best person I can be and isn’t afraid to remind me when I am lost.

Although I didn’t realise it all of the time, this is the best way to be raised. I have a long way to go until I can be compared to my mum; her strength, honesty and resilience is unmatched. Part of maturing and growing into the woman I want to be is the process of realising that being like your parents isn’t a negative thing. In my case it could be the best possible outcome. I know that regardless of the situation, the greatest advice I could ever receive is from her, the only person who really loves me unconditionally.

Daisy Peile
Daisy, her sister and their mum. Image Credit: Provided by Daisy Peile.

Our family can inspire us through the smallest of actions. Sometimes, however, we are in awe of their accomplishments and the difference they make in people’s lives. Such is the case for Oscar, a University of Liverpool student and LGSM author.

The person who stands out as supporting me this year as well as inspiring me is my Aunt.

Her tireless efforts overseas allocating funds from the British government to eradicate poverty in her current base of Nepal are just the tip of the iceberg. She has had to shoulder extra responsibility in a year that has seen threats to her departmental budget and, worse still, her whole department (the Department for International Development) merged with the Foreign Office with next to no warning (thanks Bojo!)

Alongside this, she’s always found time to give advice, lend a helping hand, congratulate, commiserate and everything in between. This is why she’s stood out so much this past year, as I’m sure she will this next one.

Oscar Hughff-Coates


For me, friends come first. I have a collection of close friends who are my go-to for any problem. They laugh at my jokes, they listen to me complain, and they send me chocolate in the mail. What more could I want?

Having friends who live far away is a blessing and a curse. When it came to the pandemic, ironically nothing changed for most of my friendships; we mostly talk online anyway! Having deep connections with friends across the world has formed part of my identity, giving me a greater understanding of the different cultures of the world and a plethora of swear words to choose from!

I asked my friends who had supported or inspired them the past year and they chose me. I’ve never been more honoured and I did shed a wee tear. I love you guys.

My New Year Honour goes to my best friend. She is always there for me, especially when I need her the most. She has helped me to improve my English quite a bit. But one day, she will realise that German is the superior language, then I can finally forget everything she has taught me.

I got to meet her last year and she has showed me how exciting English culture is – I’m really grateful for that. Turns out, our German Christmas markets are somewhat special! Looking forward to making many more memories together! I’m glad to have her in my life.

Noel Von Hase

When I say you need a friend who is on the same wavelength as you, you really do. I started my post-graduate degree with about 2 friends who weren’t really that interested in much that I enjoyed doing. The first few months were very rocky. I do not recommend doing 20+ hours a week in a supermarket on top of a full-time master’s degree. Especially when one of the modules is very difficult, something I did not enjoy, and 100% exam-based.

I got a message from someone talking about the course rep position. I didn’t talk to them for a while but found out that they were doing the same internship as me a few weeks later. Despite being an anxious wreck, I managed to muster up the courage to message this person again. We then grouped up in the internship and worked really well together. Then, proceeded to both panic about the horrifically difficult exam and the whole degree since, and I now call her one of my best mates.

She is the one who subconsciously pushed me to try my absolute hardest in both my academic work and my internships, without even knowing it. I’m sad that we live so far away from each other, but I am so grateful to have her as one of my closest friends. I can tell her anything; in fact, she is actually the very person writing this article.

Robyn Sayle

The most inspirational person for me in 2021 was my best friend Bryony. Last year was big for me. I came out to the world as a proud gay man, found my first true love (besides Bryony herself 😏), moved from the quiet but lovely suburbs to an apartment in a big, scary and overwhelming city, and I changed work 3 times!

She isn’t only there for the laughs but to encourage me in tough situations, to give me a shoulder to cry on, and generally have my back when I am overwhelmed. I think I can say that I’m the most grateful person to have her as my friend! Someone that is truly kind to people, wants to do good in the world without anything in return, and overall a big inspiration!

The biggest lesson I got from her, besides my English lessons 🤭, was that it’s okay to be me! Thank you Bryony x

Daan Walbers

I’m not the only one who has experienced meeting a long distance friend for the first time this past year. Arts and Culture Editor Caitlin has benefitted from the support of her long-time, long-distance best friend.

Someone that changed my 2021 is my best friend, Will. Will and I have been friends since 2016, ever since I messaged him on Twitter. He lives in Scotland, and I live in England, so it’s been difficult over the years for us to see each other regularly. However, despite the physical distance, we’ve always managed to make it through. If anything, the distance has made us closer.

Throughout the first half of 2021, like many, I was struggling through yet another lockdown. By the time May came around I was under a significant amount of stress, alongside a turbulent breakup. Best of all, this all fell on my birthday. Upon hearing this, Will got the train to Liverpool and what I anticipated would be the worst week of my life became the best. My 20th birthday is one I could never forget because of him. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay him for how much I laughed that week when I should have been tearing my hair out. With every complication, we’ve always grown closer. I don’t think there’s a person I’ve ever trusted more. At the end of the day, all it takes is that one person to remind you who you are, and for me that’s always been Will.

Caitlin Kennedy

Family friends

Don’t worry, they aren’t all about me! Martha, our On-Campus News and Politics Editor, chose to honour a family friend, Romy. In a time that has been difficult for many of us, with the world facing tremendous loss and sadness, it’s hard to stay strong and put on a brave face, which is exactly what Romy has done.

This year has been a difficult one. I’ve been inspired by a woman whose resilience and will have been tested endlessly in one of the worst ways imaginable. She lost her husband in a sudden, tragic incident. She remains sturdy, provides unmoving support for her three daughters, consoled her husband’s bereaved mother, and offered plenty of heartfelt words to his friends. My dad was one of his closest, and to say his life is irrevocably changed because of his passing would be an understatement.

He’s promised himself to be more like him, Rick; to be the life of the party. Saying “yes” to those extra few pints, to always stay out a little longer than everyone else. To be there for his family, ever-present, always happy to put a smile on someone’s face at the expense of a self-deprecating comment or two. I’m promising myself to be more like her, Romy. She has cried god knows how many tears. Has felt everything she has needed to. She will continue to cry, laugh and mourn her love – but she perseveres. She feels, she lives, and she loves.

Martha Sutcliffe

Galentine’s day anyone?

Coming up to Valentine’s Day, I think we can appreciate its need. Our gal pals can make anything better! For one of the girls, it’s really seen her through the year to have their support.

My New Year Honour goes to not one person but several. To the girls who kept me laughing throughout 2021, to my besties, thank you.

From looking after me whilst drunk crying over nasty boys, to making comfort food for me when I was struggling to eat, my best friends helped me discover self love in 2021. As cringey as it sounds, these girls take girl power to a whole new level. We overcome each other’s obstacles together, and make a lifetime of memories along the way. It’s not often that you meet people you know will be in your life forever, but I know that I’m not getting rid of them anytime soon. The idea of graduating feels overwhelmingly scary right now, but I know that in our little family, nothing is impossible.

Image Credit: Photo by Leah Kelley from Pexels


Thomas Hankinson is a third-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student. When he reached out to ask if animals could be included in the list, I said, ‘of course!’ because animals are overwhelmingly supportive for a lot of people. The benefits of pets to people’s mental and physical wellbeing are well known. An estimated 17 million homes in the UK have a pet. For Tom, his pet cat Chester has proved not just to be photogenic but also a literal lifesaver.

Chester Tiberius Cat, First of His Name, Slayer of Mice and Supreme Overlord of the Back Garden is a prime candidate for any New Year’s Honours List. Chester T. Cat has recently taken to saving lives as a pastime, instead of terrorising the local small mammalian population. Chester, naturally, is a sassy redhead. When my father tried to bundle him into his Hello Kitty cat carrier for an appointment at the vets, he proceeded to unleash a primal savagery, not seen since the Neolithic, on his hand.

This meant my father had to go to the doctors for a tetanus shot. While there, they noted a drastic weight loss and decided to get a scan of his liver. They found a small, cancerous lump. Luckily however, Chester’s intervention resulted in early, potentially life-saving detection.

We wrote to Blue Peter asking for Chester’s Golden Life Saver badge, but they declined to issue it. Something to do with cats not being real people. Nonetheless, Chester has been honoured with many a bag of Dreamies and treated with salmon, his favourite dinner, every week. He has retired from his front line paramedic duties, instead living a quiet, suburban life hunting socks and other small objects around the house.

Thomas Hankinson
Chester. Image Credit: Provided by Tom Hankinson.


Sometimes, those who have the most profound impact on us are people we’ve never met! Such was the case for one student whose biggest support over the last year came from someone on the other end of the phone line.

Somebody new came into my life this year who I have never actually met in person, nor do I know what they look like. But that hasn’t stopped my gratitude towards them. That person is my over-the-phone bereavement counsellor (or therapist).

After losing a close friend to suicide in 2020, I spent a good chunk of 2021 feeling overwhelmed by my grief. I knew I wanted to try counselling, but I fell into the trap of struggling to make the initial move towards getting help. Towards the end of 2021, I sought out professional suicide bereavement counselling and I could not be more grateful to my therapist. Talking is magic. I’m by no means “cured” of my grief, and have learned that I may never be, but I feel lighter. It’s okay not to be okay, but sometimes you may just need a fresh pair of eyes to offer a different perspective on things.


Resilience has become a buzzword when relating to the past year. We have proven our resilience by being students at, quite literally, the worst possible time to be at uni! For LGSM author Chelsea, this fierce resilience in desperate times was proven by a complete stranger.

A person who inspired me would definitely be a woman I met on the train.

It’s going to sound weird that I don’t even know her name but she was telling me that her husband fought in the war and currently has cancer. Much to my shock, she travels 17 hours every few days just to see him. We got to know each other and she said I reminded her of her late daughter. Her resilience and willpower resonated with me.

Chelsea Hughes


Our Lifestyle Editor Greg has reflected on the career and works of author John le Carré. It’s often that our inspirational choices are celebrities. But for Greg, the inspiration lies in the beginnings of his career and the motivation that can lie in getting there, not the final destination.

It may strike you a little unusual that I’ve chosen John le Carré as someone who has inspired me throughout 2021, given that he died fairly recently. John le Carré, formally known as David Cornwell, died aged 89 on the 12th of December 2020. However, his legacy lives on through his work. Silverview, his final novel, is the closing act in a literary career that spanned six decades. Le Carré wrote of spies, but fundamentally his writings are about human nature. He is my favourite author, and his works of fiction were a source of entertainment and escapism throughout seemingly endless bouts of lockdown.

The elegance of his prose, the depth of his characters, and the twists and turns in his plots inspire me. But I was most inspired by le Carré when I learned of his previous works. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold propelled him to international stardom. His example serves as an important reminder that it takes time – a period of experimentation and trial-and-error – before anyone can achieve their goals, even if they’re one of the best novelists of the 20th century. Oftentimes we can be blinded by the blazing success of well-known figures – authors, actors, or God forbid, influencers. However, once we see how they got started, our own goals seem more achievable.

Greg Davies

Matt Kelly is the Gay Men’s Rep for LGBT+ Soc and an LGSM writer. He has found inspiration in representation. Whilst social media often leads to negative results, one thing it has done effectively is giving a platform to a larger range of people, offering representation that used to be harder to find.

Someone who inspired me in 2021 was Mars Wright. Mars Wright is a trans masculine streetwear designer who frequently posts art about being trans. His pieces on embracing femininity as a trans masculine person have helped me feel more comfortable as a trans man who enjoys feminine things and styles. His content also challenged me to better understand my emotions and embrace them. And more than anything else, it feels amazing to see myself represented in his content and to know that I’m not alone in this journey. There are others like me and it means the world to me that I can connect with my community.

Matt Kelly

If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. A saying that I’ve heard many times throughout my life, it has rung true throughout the pandemic. Heather, another frequent contributor for LGSM, has found that laughter is the best medicine.

Comedy shows in general can be a great source of solace and a way to feel less isolated during what has been another crazy year. It is comforting to hear a whole room of people laughing together at the same joke, even if not in person.

James Acaster’s style of comedy demonstrates we really can pick out the feel-good and the humour of our everyday lives. He proves that we can take whatever we want as seriously as we want to. Acaster would be a brilliant addition to the New Year’s Honours List partially due to his reaction to a similar award, Lorraine Kelly’s ‘Hero of 2020’ on the Last Leg last year, and also for the smiles his shows (‘Repertoire’ and ‘Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999’) have provided during 2021.

Heather Mackelden

Simon Kjaer and the Denmark National team made headlines by proving the necessity of CPR training, inspiring people the world over to learn to keep people safe and make sure that facilities such as defibrillators are available.

The world often comes together to gather in support when there is an international football tournament taking place. On the 2nd day of the delayed Euro 2020, the world stood still. During the Denmark vs Finland match, Christian Eriksen of Denmark collapsed on the pitch in the 43rd minute. Denmark Captain Simon Kjaer rushed to Eriksen’s aid, placing him in the recovery position, performing CPR and organising a circle of Danish players around Eriksen while he received medical attention.

It was revealed that Eriksen had suffered cardiac arrest on the pitch, and if it were not for Simon Kjaer and the Danish National team’s heroics, Eriksen could have died on the pitch. They fought on through to the Semi-finals of the tournament without Eriksen, further than they were expected to go. Their actions are truly inspirational, showing us all that we have the capacity to do the right thing, remain composed and achieve success despite the adversity we may face. They were the true winners of Euro 2020. 

Liam Mclaughlan


Ana Silva immigrated from Angola to the UK and is now a master’s student studying International Relations and Security at Liverpool. Studying has formed a large part of her life, and in 2021 she finally realised where her lengthy career was taking her.

When I first arrived in England to study English in 2019, I was already a woman with a long career spanning different areas, already a graduate and a mother. Yet, I was unhappy despite being a journalist back home. I started building a political career and spent years doing things that I really enjoyed. I still felt dissatisfied. Many times I felt sad and desperate. In 2020, I did my pre-masters and started to learn in-depth how education works in England, but my doubts about the future persisted.

In September 2021, I began my next chapter of university life. I was really happy. Studying at an elite English university is amazing to me. In Portuguese we call this an opportunity to grab with two hands. Well, if I said that life has been easier since then, I would be lying. No, it’s been hard work, but I’m happy. At the end of last year, I was finally sure what I would like to do with my professional life. I want to be involved with academic life: teaching and conducting my own research.

I finally discovered what I wanna be when I finish my master’s and I am fighting for this. As I mentioned, I am a person full of dreams, I have many plans and I love it.

Ana Silva
Image Credit: Photo by Stanley Morales from Pexels

Featured Image Credit: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels