LOCAL sporting heroes are among those receiving awards in the New Year’s Honours List today.

Great Britain’s year of sporting triumph is celebrated with double Olympic sailing gold medallist Sarah Ayton receiving an OBE.

Her team-mate Pippa Wilson, 22, from Lymington, receives an MBE, as does the third member of the “blondes in a boat”, SarahWebb.

Sarah, who recently tied the knot with fellow Olympian Nick Dempsey at Fleet, near Weymouth, said: “It’s a massive honour to get an OBE after the MBE I got for winning in Athens.

“It’s going to be wonderful receiving it alongside people who have given their lives to different services and have done so many amazing things.”

The newlyweds are set to join thousands of revellers in Weymouth town centre to see in 2009 tonight.

Lymington’s Ben Ainslie, 31, receives the CBE after winning his fourth medal – and third gold – in China to become Britain’s greatest ever Olympic sailor.

The OBE also goes to record-breaking paralympic cyclist Darren Kenny from Verwood, one of Dorset’s most decorated sportsmen.

He said: “I’m over the moon. I have known since the middle of November and it has been quite difficult to keep it a secret.”

Darren is now the most successful British Paralympic cyclist, having won four golds and one silver medal in Beijing and two golds and one silver medal in Athens in 2004.

MBEs go to Andrew Simpson from Sherborne, who won an Olympic gold medal in the Star class along with Iain Percy, and record-breaking Olympic Laser sailor Paul Goodison from Weymouth.

OBE recipients include Bournemouth-based Elizabeth Gaere, for her work with the Department for International Development; and Dr Jonathan Paul Sheffield, from Sherborne, medical director of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, for services to the NHS.

An MBE goes to Bournemouth language school principal Mike Francis for more than three decades of service to the town’s tourist industry.

The former secondary school teacher said: “I’m thrilled to receive this honour. I’m 70 next week so it’s a great birthday present.”

Gerald Bishop from Poole, employee development manager at Cobham plc, receives an MBE for services to the defence industry.

Dorset Police Chief Superintendent Bob Boulton dedicated his MBE to front line staff.

He said: “I am truly humbled to receive this honour which I believe acknowledges the truly fantastic partnership work that goes on to achieve stronger and safer communities.

“Our front line staff have a difficult, challenging but rewarding job and I am very proud to have worked with each and every one of them. They need our support.”

MBEs also go to Geoffrey Meehan from Swanage for public service and Blandford bus driver James Percy Newton, who works for Damory Coaches.

Chief Steward Brian Andrew Gillingham from Poole receives an MBE for services to the armed forces while Martin Henry Sheppard from Blandford receives an MBE for services to the Ministry of Defence.

Former court clerk John Slow is awarded the same honour for voluntary service in Wimborne while an MBE has also gone to Dennis Tuffin for services to the Rendezvous advice centre in Sherborne. New Milton’s Sammy Miller, one of the all-time greats in the world of motorcycling, is made an MBE for services to motorcycle heritage.

Mr Miller, 75, who won the British championship 11 times, runs a motorcycle museum said to house the finest collection of fully restored motorcycles in Europe.

Dr Geoff Ridgway, 64, of Moortown, Ringwood, is made an OBE for services to clinical microbiology. He said: “It reflects teamwork, and I’ve been working with a wonderful team at the Department of Health.”

Now retired after a distinguished career at University College London Hospitals, he is the immediate past president of the Institute of Decontamination Sciences, the current president of the Hospital Infection Society and a consultant to the Infection Prevention and Blood Unit at the Department of Health.

A leading official at the Department of Health is also made an OBE. Keith Young, policy lead for adult critical care services, lives near Lymington.