It’s been a testing time for the Take That member and X Factor judge Gary Barlow this year. With the amazing highs of the Diamond Jubilee concert back in June, to the personal heartbreak suffered by his family at the loss of their baby daughter. But the singer was rewarded today for his services to the entertainment industry, and for his charity work as the Queen presented him with an OBE at Buckingham Palace.
It is thought that it was the Diamond Jubilee concert that the 41-year-old X Factor judge oversaw earlier in the summer, that played a pivotal role in securing the OBE for Gary, as he masterminded the whole event which included an array of special guests such as Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney and was televised to millions over the Bank Holiday. Gary has worked in the entertainment industry now in some form or other for over 2o years and began his music career as the founding member of popular boy band Take That. The group topped the singles charts a massive 14 times during 1990 and 1996 then split up after Robbie Williams left the band to pursue a solo career. Gary’s career seemed to falter as his younger bandmate had success after success and he faded somewhat into the background, although he was still songwriting for other acts at that time.
Then the band reformed in 2005 and enjoyed enormous success as old and new fans loved their music for a second time around. Gary has since received five Ivor Novello awards for song writing and co-wrote the anthem Sing with Andrew Lloyd Webber, which featured at the Diamond Jubilee concert, and topped the singles charts during the summer. Gary has also been known for his charity work which has included working with a team of celebrities to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in 2009 for Comic Relief, despite him suffering from a bad back, and organising charity concerts for Children in Need in 2009 and 2011. Earlier this month, Sir Elton John presented Barlow with the Music Industry Trust Award.
Gary has since enjoyed a new fanbase as he replaced Simon Cowell to become a judge on ITV’s The X Factor, although it hasn’t been all plain sailing as he was heavily criticised in investing in a legal tax avoidance scheme which saw him embroiled in a debate between the Prime Minister and other Labour MPs. In fact Labour MP Stephen Pound has already criticised Barlow and called for his OBE to be retracted. He said “It’s less Take That and more like Take That And All The Rest. Gary Barlow needs to do his patriotic duty and show he is not a part-time patriot off-shoring his wealth through this shelter while keeping his OBE on-shore.”
Although Gary did not talk to the waiting press outside Buckingham Palace today, he is said to be ‘deeply proud’ and in a statement said he had been surprised by the award of his OBE and that it ‘hadn’t seemed real until today’.
Actress and charity worker Kate Winslet also received an OBE Winslet, 37, for services to drama. Winslet said the Queen congratulated her and asked how much she enjoyed acting. “I said yes I liked it but not as much as being a mother. She said, ‘it is the best job’.”