By Tom Degun

Sarah Storey with hands on headDecember 30 - Paralympic cycling star Dame Sarah Storey claimed she is "speechless but incredibly honoured" at being made a Dame in the Queen's New Year's Honours list.

The 35-year-old from Manchester proved one of the stars of the London 2012 Paralympic Games as she raced to four gold medals in the individual pursuit C5, 500 metres time trial C5, road time trial C5 and road race C5.

The London 2012 performance came after she won two Paralympic cycling gold medals at Beijing 2008 and 16 Paralympic medals in her former sport of swimming, five of which were gold, to make her Britain's most decorated female Paralympian.

Storey, who was born without a functioning left hand, is the only British athlete that competed at London 2012 to be made a Dame in the New Year's Honours list and admitted it was a shock.

"Wow, I am speechless but incredibly honoured and extremely proud to accept the DBE," said Dame Sarah, who recently announced that her and husband Barney are expecting their first child.

"I never expected any additional awards after my sporting success, I love competing for my country and that is a huge honour in itself.

"Now to be a Dame is beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I cannot thank my family, friends coaches and support staff over all the years enough for their devotion in helping me to follow the path of becoming the best athlete I can possibly be."

Wheelchair racing star David Weir is the other Paralympian to receive a major honour as he is made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) after winning four gold medals at London 2012 in the 800, 1500 and 5000 metres T54 as well as the marathon.

Dave WeirDavid Weir has been awarded a CBE after winning four gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds and Paralympic equestrian rider Sophie Christiansen both receive an Order of the British Empire (OBE) following their multiple gold medal winning performances at London while every other London 2012 ParalympicsGB champion will be made a Member of the British Empire (MBE).

"The recognition of our Paralympic athletes in the New Year's Honours List is a wonderful way to bring this remarkable year to a close," said British Paralympic Association (BPA) chief executive Tim Hollingsworth.

"Their performances on the field of play not only received rapturous applause from the crowds at London 2012 and viewers of the TV coverage, many of whom were experiencing Paralympic sport for the first time, but the 11 days of sport that we witnessed this summer also gripped the nation and changed many peoples' perception of disability sport.

"It is fitting that so many of our gold medallists are today offered some of the highest tributes possible which reflect not only their sporting talent but also the sheer hard work and dedication that they put into preparing for their home Games.

"We are extremely proud of their achievements."

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