Four journalists, including veteran Daily Mail foreign correspondent and Press Gazette Hall of Fame member Ann Leslie, are included in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.
Leslie, who has reported from more than 70 countries, was awarded the DME, the highest award for women. She said: ‘I’m shocked and astonished, but very pleased. There have been some very good women journalists but not many of them have got gongs.’Leslie said she regarded the fall of the Berlin Wall and the freeing of Nelson Mandela as the two biggest and most memorable stories she has covered.
Leslie, who began her career at the Daily Express’s Manchester office in 1962, said of her early days: ‘The opening remark of my news editor was: ‘You’re keeping a good man out of a job’. It toughens you up – after my experiences in the provincial office of a national newspaper, the checkpoints and war zones were a doddle.’Ramniklal Solanki, founder of the Asian Media and Marketing Group and publisher of Asian Trader among other titles, was awarded the CBE for his contribution to race relations and publishing. He received the OBE in 1998. Solanki, 75, is still editor-in-chief of the group and oversees its titles in the UK, India and the US.
Solanki, who came to Britain in 1964 and set up Europe’s first Gujarati newspaper in 1968, said: ‘This is not just for me but for members of my family and members of my staff. What they have done has been recognised.’An MBE for services to journalism was given to Peter Beal who served as chief northern correspondent at the Press Association for nearly 20 years and northern editor for the last five He reported on almost every major story in the north including the Hillsborough disaster and the trials of Harold Shipman and James Bulger’s killers but remembers most vividly the trial of Cheshire nanny Louise Woodward in America. Beal, 58, started his career on the now defunct Skyrack Express in Leeds before moving to PA.
After retiring last year, he raised £7,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association by walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats. He said: ‘The honour is probably my proudest achievement. It’s up there with anything else I’ve done.’Hugh Johnson, former travel editor and wine critic at the Sunday Times, has been awarded an OBE for services to wine making and horticulture.
A prolific author on gardening and wine, Johnson began his career with the CondÃ© Nast group then became editor of Wine and Food magazine and moved on to the Sunday Times.