Sir Gary Verity, the Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive who brought the Tour de France to the county last summer, was handed a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

Verity said he was “chuffed to bits” with the award, which was given for services to tourism and the Tour De France Grand Depart.

Gary Verity

“Sir” Gary Verity

Race organisers had described last summer’s two-day spectacular – which saw around five million spectactors line the route across Yorkshire – as the “grandest Grand Tour” ever.

He said: “Such things are reserved for people who climb Everest, win four or five Olympic gold medals, win the Tour de France, not for ordinary people like me.

“I reckon 20,000 people all give it their best shot. I hope they can take a lot of pleasure and comfort from this. In many ways, this is for the people of Yorkshire who bought the dream and went with it in such tremendous fashion.”

Deborah Egan, one of Verity’s co-directors at Welcome to Yorkshire and director of Sheffield-based not for profit Connect The Dots, was awarded an OBE for services to the creative and digital industry.

Also recognised was Sandy Lindsay, founder and chair of Manchester-based Tangerine PR and The Juice Academy apprenticeship scheme, who received an MBE.

Lindsay, who founded Tangerine in 2002 and has grown the agency to over 60 people, said: “I can’t tell you how surprised I was when I opened the envelope. It was such a shock, but a very lovely one!

Sandy Lindsay (centre) with apprentices at the Juice Academy

Sandy Lindsay (centre) with apprentices at The Juice Academy

“I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved at Tangerine – it was very important to me to prove an ethically run PR consultancy could be successful and I count myself very fortunate that I’m surrounded by so many people – clients and colleagues – who agree.”

BT North West director Mike Blackburn, chair of Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership and a trustee of the Lowry Theatre in Salford, received an OBE for his services to the North West economy.

Alex Poots, the outgoing chief executive of Manchester International Festival, was awarded a CBE for services to the arts.