Choirmaster Gareth Malone and actor Kwame Kwei-Armah both made OBEs

Two leading lights of the arts given OBEs have paid tribute to the hard graft of their parents.

Choirmaster and Crouch Ender Gareth Malone, and actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah, from Muswell Hill, will both make the trip to Buckingham Palace to pick up the honours.

Mr Kwei-Armah, of Casualty fame, said the “immigrant’s dream” that brought his parents to the UK was vindicated by the honour.

He said: “My mother came from a tiny village in a small island in the Caribbean.

“If she were here today on this announcement, I perceive that it may have validated much of the pain, suffering and self sacrifice she, my father and many other family members of the Windrush generation, went through to give their children a shot of living what I would of course call the West Indian dream, but what is in fact, the immigrant’s dream.

“A dream that although far from complete, has made our country a warmer, more equitable place than it was when they first arrived on its shores.

“It is with this narrative at the forefront of my mind that I say I am truly humbled to have been given this award.”

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Choirmaster Gareth Malone, who famously took his Military Wives choir to the coveted Christmas number one spot last year, said he was “thrilled”.

He said: “Over the past ten years, encouraging people to sing has been a labour of love so it’s wonderful to be recognised in this way.

“I am hugely grateful to all the people I have worked with in both television and the arts for helping me to bring music into people’s lives.

“I would not be receiving this honour if it weren’t for the unstinting support of my long-suffering parents through hours of piano practice and I’m indebted to them for all they have given me.”

The father-of-one starred in the hit television show The Choir, where he teaches choral singing to novices.