The Lighter Side: Honours system? It’s a New Year’s outrage!

New Year's Honours for celebrities like James Corden (above - picture by John Marshall JME) are making the awards a mockery according to columnist Kate Mason (below)

New Year's Honours for celebrities like James Corden (above - picture by John Marshall JME) are making the awards a mockery according to columnist Kate Mason (below)

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Being name checked on the Queen’s New Year’s honours list is perhaps the greatest accolade that could ever be bestowed.

Hundreds of worthy recipients over the years have rung in the New Year with a trip to see Lizzie at Buckingham Palace

Ben Parkinson – the most severely injured soldier to survive the war in Afghanistan – was among the MBE recipients last year.

The paratrooper lost both his legs and suffered brain damage in a Taliban bomb blast in 2006.

After a gruelling rehabilitation process, he has learned to walk on his prosthetic legs and has devoted himself to raising money for military charities.

The whole nation was in agreement that Ben was a worthy recipient.

Seeing Ben Parkinson receive an MBE typifies what the honours system is all about – rewarding ordinary people for doing extraordinary things.

So imagine my surprise when I read that rotund comedian James Corden was tipped to receive an OBE.

Apparently the 36-year-old will receive the honour in the New Year’s honours list for his services to entertainment and charity.

I mean, come on, he made me chuckle in Gavin and Stacey on occasion, but not to the point where I thought “give that man a medal”.

Actor and comedian does job – well done, here’s an OBE.

Surely after his BRIT hosting ability, the only thing he should be receiving is a Presenting for Dummies book.

Is it not enough that these celeb types already have the Oscars, the BAFTAs, the Emmys, the BRITS....I could go on.

There’s 101 different industry awards designed for recognising and rewarding the talents of people like this without giving them the royal seal of approval as well.

The comedian also undertakes a lot of charity work – which is admittedly an honourable thing – but surely someone who is rolling in money and has a high profile has a distinct advantage when it comes to helping those less fortunate than themselves.

I know there are a lot of uber rich stars who perhaps aren’t as generous as James Corden, but when you’ve got millions in the bank, giving some away to a good cause isn’t that much of a hardship.

It’s the poor old woman who lives round the corner from you who hasn’t got a penny to her name, yet still dedicates her time to helping others, who in my opinion, should be the one receiving an honour.

With so many celebrities now getting the nod, I fear the most prestigious honours are in danger of being drastically diluted.

Let’s leave the celebrities to their countless red carpet award events andsave the New Year’s honours for the truly deserving recipients.