Urgent ceremony for Sir Paul Holmes

By Isaac Davison

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An urgent knighthood ceremony has been arranged for Sir Paul Holmes next week due to concerns about his health.

The veteran broadcaster, journalist and author will be given a rare, early investiture on January 16 after a request from his family and friends, who were worried about his deteriorating health.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae accepted the request and will travel to Hawke's Bay next week for the ceremony.

It is understood the rite will be held at Sir Paul's home, a sprawling patch of farmland where he grows olives for his olive oil business.

The other recipients were due to receive their titles in several months.

A spokesman for Government House said Sir Paul could be considered a knight from the moment it was announced on December 31, but his family had asked for the ceremony to be held as soon as possible to mark the honour. Details, such as who will be attending the ceremony, are still to be confirmed.

Sir Paul ended his broadcasting career late last year because of ill health. He had an operation for prostate cancer last January, which returned aggressively later in the year, and also underwent open-heart surgery in June.

On receiving his honour, he said it was an unexpected, wonderful gift after a difficult year.

"It feels wonderful," Sir Paul said. "It's just a lovely little bonus at the end of a hard year, and it's been a hell of a year."

He was a late addition to the New Year Honours List, with notification from the Cabinet Office arriving eight days after the rest of the recipients.

Sir Paul earned his reputation during 35 years in broadcasting, in particular his accessible, often quirky coverage of news and currents affairs on morning radio and prime-time television.

"Current affairs should be something enjoyable," he said. "We should take pleasure in finding out about our issues."

He has also championed the Stellar Trust and its battle against methampethamine, or P.APN News & Media

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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