U2's Bono made honorary knight

2007-03-29 15:44

Dublin - Irish rock star and anti-poverty campaigner Bono was made an honorary British knight at a ceremony in Dublin on Thursday, the British embassy said.

Presenting the insignia on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, ambassador David Reddaway said it was awarded in recognition of his services to the music industry and for his humanitarian work.

Bono - real name Paul Hewson - has become an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE). The award is conferred by the queen on the advice of the British government.

"This honorary award recognises Bono's extraordinary and inspirational commitment to relieve global poverty and focus international attention on the plight of Africa; the Aids pandemic; and the third world debt crisis," Reddaway said in a statement.

"He has played a key role in persuading governments and international institutions to wipe out much of the burden of international debt owed by third world governments.

"We in the UK particularly appreciated his work alongside our G8 and European Union presidencies in 2005, which we were determined would produce real benefits for Africa."

Reddaway also paid tribute to the singer for his contribution to the music industry.

"U2 is not only one of the most successful bands of all time, but have been highly effective in raising support for justice related causes through benefit concerts and recordings."

In accepting the insignia, U2 front man Bono thanked the ambassador for "pinning this award on me in my home town, and the band for not bursting my balloon."

'I couldn't be more proud'

"What a great year for an Irishman to receive an award from Great Britain.

"The (Northern Irish) peace process has proceeded to a conclusion, debt cancellation - started in Great Britain - has put 20 million African children in school, The Happy Mondays and Shaun Ryder have reformed, England's rugby squad entered Croke Park to thunderous applause, silence for God Save The Queen, then the Irish hammered them.

"I couldn't be more proud," said Bono.

Honorary awards are conferred on citizens of countries of which Queen Elizabeth is not head of state but the KBE does not confer the title "Sir", as it does to British and Commonwealth recipients.

Ireland has no awards system so Bono's acceptance of the award received clearance from the government of Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.