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Columnist Anne Hailes awarded MBE in New Year's honours

Anne Hailes at her book launch in 2009.
Marie Louise McConville

IRISH News columnist Anne Hailes has spoken of her "complete surprise" at being awarded a MBE in the New Year Honours.

The well-known broadcaster, who has worked in the industry for five decades, was recognised for her services to journalism, broadcasting and to the community in Northern Ireland.

The Irish News columnist of two decades said she was looking forward to sharing the news with family and friends and enjoying a "bit of partying".

Having entered Ulster Television at the age of 17, Anne went on to work for media organisations across the spectrum.

Over the years, she has also covered the Troubles for the BBC World Service and made documentaries for RTÉ.

She has also written for the Sunday World, News Letter, Belfast Telegraph and Daily Mirror.

For the past 20 years, she has written for The Irish News with her columns attracting a devoted following and remaining one of the newspaper's most popular elements.

The awarding of the MBE comes almost two years after Anne was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in June 2013. Speaking on Wednesday night, she described the award as "very pleasing".

"A totally unexpected surprise and a delight and something to celebrate with family, friends and colleagues," she said.

"I won't know apparently for a few months where I'm going and who I'm bringing with me.

"It's an ongoing excitement. It will be a great time to celebrate".

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