Yesterday, Tuesday 21st March, legendary soul diva GLADYS KNIGHT was officially awarded with the National Humanities Medal and the National Medal of Arts by US President Joe Biden, the first time he’d held a ceremony for the awards since taking office. He said, “We’re a nation, a great nation, in large part because of the power of the arts and humanities. That’s stamped into the DNA of America. Today … (we) continue the legacy of awarding two of our nation’s highest honours to 23 extraordinary Americans.” Amongst the other recipients were actor and comedian Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Bruce Springsteen and  Jose Feliciano.

It’s  been a busy time for Ms Knight, the “Empress of Soul”. A few months ago she was honoured for her lifetime of artistic achievements at the Kennedy Centre Awards and she’s currently touring the US

Now aged 78, she said: “You could never have told me as a young girl starting my career that I would be honoured on a stage such as this, with artists and humanitarians such as these — it just wouldn’t have seemed possible. It would have been the dream of all dreams. I have been blessed with so much in my life, and this certainly stands with those achievements at the top of that list.”