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Iceland founder and chief executive Malcolm Walker has received a knighthood for services to retailing, entrepreneurship and charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2017.

The honour comes as Iceland has seen a dramatic change in fortunes, with a big boost in sales and profits. The retailer had posted a 4.4% rise in sales for the year to 24 March 2017 compared with a 2.7% decline the previous year. EDITDA was also up 6.3% to £160m.

“I am stunned and delighted to receive this great honour - and thank all the many thousands of past and present Iceland colleagues who have helped me to achieve it. My life has been devoted to entrepreneurship and retailing, both of which make a vital contribution to the UK’s economic wellbeing by generating wealth to fund public services and support good causes,” said Walker.

“I am especially proud of everything Iceland’s Charitable Foundation has done in funding the vital research that will ultimately deliver a cure for dementia.

“I am also particularly pleased to receive a title I can share with my dear wife Rhianydd. She would be quietly proud to be called Lady Walker though I’m sad that her illness means she will never be aware of it.”

There were a raft of other food and drink honours made in this year’s list. Celebrity cook and writer Delia Smith was given the Order of the Companions of Honour award for services to cookery. This is a Commonwealth order granted for outstanding achievements.

An OBE was given to The Grocer columnist and food fraud expert Professor Chris Elliott, pro-vice chancellor of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences at Queen’s University, Belfast, for services to the agrifood supply chain.

OBEs were also given to Belinda Earl, style director at Marks & Spencer, for services to retail; Roger Evans for services to the UK dairy industry and local community; and to Dr Geoffrey Hawtin, member of the board of trustees at Kew Gardens, for services to global agro-biodiversity conservation, subsistence livelihood enhancement and sustainable food production.

MBEs were given to James Mclaren, chair of Quality Meat Scotland, for services to the farming industry in Scotland; Tarek Malouf, founder of the Hummingbird Bakery for services to baking and confectionery; Michele Shirlow, chief executive of Food Northern Ireland, for services to the food and drink sector in Northern Ireland; and to Louise Baxter, head of the National Trading Standards Scams Team, for services to protecting vulnerable people from financial abuse.

A CBE was given to Dr Carl Michael O’Brien, chief fisheries science adviser, Cefas, for services to the management of internationally shared fisheries.