The man who brought Shakespeare to a York car park gets an award in the New Year Honours 2019.

James Cundall, chief executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, is awarded an MBE for services to the entertainment industry in the honours announced today (Friday 28 December).

James was a high-flying financier when he founded the first Lunchbox company in Hong Kong in 1992.


He re-established the company in the UK in 2004. Since then Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, based at Welburn near York, has brought musicals, plays, ice shows, outdoor events and children’s shows to many millions of theatre-goers in 22 countries around the world.

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It runs Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland at York Designer Outlet, as well as Thor’s Tipi Bar, part of the St Nicholas Fair at Christmas.

Last year Lunchbox successfully built a pop-up replica of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in Castle Car Park, staging four of the most famous plays.

It will return in 2019 with another quartet of Shakespearean blockbusters. James said:

  • I am both surprised and humbled to be awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours.

    My aim has always been to create quality live entertainment, while giving audiences value for money with their increasingly scarce leisure time.

    Over the last 25 years I have had the privilege of producing shows around the world that have been seen, and hopefully enjoyed, by millions of people.

    My sincere thanks go to them and my incredible team at Lunchbox Theatrical Productions for enabling me to continue doing this.

Nestlé boss award

Paul Grimwood, when he was the Nestlé boss in York
The man who went from being the first Saturday boy at York’s Marks & Spencer to running a global corporation is also honoured.

Paul Grimwood, now chairman of Nestle USA, is awarded a CBE for services to the food and drink industry in the UK and overseas.

As a child he was driven past the Rowntree’s Haxby Road factory every day on his way to Fulford School.

Starting his career with rival confectionery group Mars, he worked in various roles in Nestlé until he came back to York when appointed UK confectionery MD in January 2006.

Three years later he was CEO of Nestlé UK, before doing the same job in the US from 2012.

Paul stood down as CEO of Nestlé USA earlier this year and retires as chairman in May 2019. He said:

  • I am very proud and grateful to receive this honour.

    I have been fortunate throughout my career to have worked with outstanding people – and Nestlé is a great company.

    I would like to thank and pay tribute to the many friends and colleagues, in the UK, the USA, and around the world, who have made my time at Nestlé so successful and enjoyable.

More York winners

Other people from York to be honoured this year are:

Lynda Marginson – CBE
Director, National Probation Service, North East Division. For services to probation and criminal justice.

Rodney Gardner – OBE
Head of Network Operations, Northern Powergrid. For services to energy resilience.

Robin Andrews – MBE
Also known as Robert Michael Andrews. For services to the Ryedale Festival.

Professor Jacqueline Stevenson – MBE
Sociologist and Head of Research, Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University. For services to education.

Professor Quentin Summerfield – MBE
Professor of Psychology, University of York. For services to psychology and people with hearing loss.

National awards include

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  • a knighthood for Michael Palin, Monty Python star, actor, writer and broadcaster, for services to travel, culture and geography
  • a damehood for model, actress and singer Lesley Lawson (aka Twiggy)
  • a knighthood for record breaking cricketer Alastair Cook following his retirement from international cricket
  • a knighthood for award-winning author Philip Pullman, for services to literature
  • a knighthood for former England rugby captain Bill Beaumont
  • a CBE for award winning actress Sophie Okonedo
  • a CBE for children’s author Julia Donaldson
  • a CBE for journalist Chris Packham
  • an OBE for Thandie Newton for services to Film and to charity
  • an OBE for Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas
  • and following England’s successful World Cup run in the summer, an OBE for England football manager Gareth Southgate and
  • an MBE for captain Harry Kane.

Photograph: Ian West / PA Wire