HIS city is home to tens of thousands of Australians and now London mayor Boris Johnson has been declared an honorary Aussie himself.
Johnson was on Saturday named Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK at an Australia Day awards ceremony in the British capital.
Writer, lecturer and historian Meredith Hooper received the Australian of the Year in the UK award for her passion and dedication in studying and educating about Antarctica.
Johnson was recognised for displaying “archetypal Aussie characteristics in abundance” and for looking out for the interests of Australians in the UK.
He has spoken frequently of his admiration for Australia, declaring it “the most advanced country on earth” on a recent visit, and said he wants Australians to have EU-style work rights in UK.
Johnson said he was honoured and surprised by the award.
“Our connection to Australia is reflective of a mutual bond of language, shared history and respect that even extends to our ‘chin-up, carry on’ attitude to Ashes defeat,” Johnson said.
“London is a global capital, with a rich and diverse world community.
“Australians are an integral and essential part of that community, and so long as I am mayor it is a bond I know will grow and flourish still further.”
Award-winning author Hooper has spent more than five decades pursuing her passion for Antarctica, making many journeys there, and she is considered a world expert on the region.
In between research projects and lectures, she also acts as a creative consultant to her son Tom, the Oscar-winning director of films including The King’s Speech and Les Miserables.
Of her honour, Meredith Hooper said: “We Australians in the UK inhabit two hemispheres.
“It’s our good fortune and our opportunity. We can gain, and we can give.
“This honour is a most happy acknowledging of my two selves.”
Ballet dancer Steven McRae, 28, was named Young Australian Achiever in the UK at the awards, run by the Australia Day Foundation. -AAP