World-renowned Olympian Katherine Grainger today said she was “overwhelmed” at being made a dame in the New Year Honours list.
The honour is in recognition of the North-east sport star’s remarkable rowing career and services to charity.
Dame Katherine, who turned 41 this year, has five medals from five Olympic games under her belt, including a gold from London 2012.
Dame Katherine, whose parents live in Aberdeenshire, told the Evening Express: “In a word, it’s overwhelming.
“It’s not something I expected at all. To be honest, it still doesn’t feel real yet.”
Having been an ambassador for rowing for so many years, Dame Katherine said she was delighted to see the sport going from strength to strength.
She said: “I’ve been in the sport for over 20 years and in that time it’s had so many breakthroughs. It just seems to be getting better and better.
“Rowing is a real team sport. I’ve always been part of a team and I see this honour as a recognition of that teamwork as well.”
Dame Katherine said she was “lucky” that her career had been successful.
She said: “I just fell into it at university and I really feel I’ve made the most of it.”
The sports legend said she was also proud of her charitable achievements.
Dame Katherine is a serving board member of International Inspiration, a charity that promotes access to sport, play, and physical exercise for low and middle income families with children around the world.
She also has a close relationship with a number of other charities.
Her mother Liz Grainger said her daughter would “like to give something back to sport”, adding: “I think she feels that she’s been very lucky and she would like to pay back to some extent.”
A host of other North-east commmunity members have been honoured by the Queen.Among them is Professor Jonathan Stephens, former director of music at the University of Aberdeen, who was made an MBE for services to music education.
Also made an MBE was Kintore Primary School headteacher Wilma Walker as well as Alistair Strachan for services to farming and the community in Cuminestown.
Jim Muirhead, vice president of the Buchan BB battalion, was also given an MBE for services to the Boys’ Brigade.
Meanwhile, Commodore Inga Kennedy, from Aberdeen, has been awarded the CBE in the New Year Honours list.
Commodore Kennedy is the Inspector General of the Defence Medical Services.
She is one of the most senior ranking women in the Royal Navy.
She said: “I feel shocked and quite emotional to have been given this honour, it’s not something I ever thought I would receive.”