A HOLOCAUST survivor who won the hearts of the nation on a TV dating show has been honoured by the Queen.

As a child, Eastbourne resident Dorit Oliver-Wolff hid from the Nazis in a cellar without light or heating for nine months after her family fled Hungary in 1941.

Earlier this year she achieved fame after a heartwarming date on Channel 4 show First Dates.

Now the 84-year-old has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Holocaust education and awareness, having addressed embassies and governments around the world.

She said she was “gobsmacked” when she received the news.

“My head is getting so big,” she said.

“When I lived in Novi Sad I always thought I lived in the biggest city in the world.

“I didn’t even know what England was, it was just a little faraway island. Now I’m going to Buckingham Palace. It’s really exciting.

“Just because I have an accent doesn’t mean I haven’t adopted this country, and I am so happy this country has adopted me.”

Ms Oliver-Wolff said she wanted to spread the message that “life is for living”.

“A lot of people are only concerned about what happens in front of their house or next door,” she said. “But what we need to learn is bad things don’t happen to ‘them’, they happen to us.

“It’s not just the Jewish people who have had their Holocaust, but so many other groups too.

“I love my public speaking and I always tell people life is for living, not for being nasty.”

The Holocaust survivor was one of many to have been named in the 2020 New Year Honours list.

Former Argus reporter Annie Nightingale was awarded a CBE for services to radio as BBC Radio 1’s longest-serving presenter.

Ms Nightingale, who previously received an MBE, first worked as a journalist in Brighton.

“I was rather attracted to the idea of racing around in a sports car with front page news. Of course, it is very different from that in reality,” she said. “I was interviewing movie stars one day and somebody involved in a murder the next. It was an incredible beginning, it was a great grounding. I met a really amazing team of reporters, all destined for Fleet Street, so I really had to up my game.”

Meanwhile 24-year-old Pevensey makeup artist Kaiya Swain earned a British Empire Medal for winning the gold medal for beauty therapy at the Worldskills championship. Ms Swain made her name at the 2017 “skills Olympics” in Abu Dhabi.

Now one of the best young role models in the country, she has her own home salon. It’s incredible. I’m so grateful. I’ve spent four long hard years of training,” she said. “I work for myself and I have a salon at home.

“I specialise in eyelash extensions and I offer a range of treatments.

“The competition was for everyone from cooks and engineers to beauty therapists like me.”

Veteran marathon runner Rosie Thompson was awarded an MBE for services to the Armed Forces.

The 62-year-old Hurstpierpoint resident has run more than 36 marathons as part of the Not Forgotten Association, which helps lonely veterans.

In her 21 years at the charity she has raised more than £250,000 for those in need. I’m shocked but thrilled. I’m just getting used to it,” she said.

“I’m very aware that I get paid to work for a charity, and I’ve always wanted to give something back.

“That’s why I go out on the streets and run marathons. It’s to give something back to the community.”

Ms Thompson said she took inspiration from the veterans she helps.

“What I like most about my job is seeing the progress of people injured,” she said. “Veterans who have been shot or lost limbs go on to climb Kilimanjaro.

“They often say I’m their inspiration, but they’re mine.”

Brighton pensioner Peter Burrows receives a British Empire Medal for services to the city’s community.

The 78-year-old has raised money for a food bank, an allotment, and a community garden in Queen’s Park.

But Mr Burrows said he was not worthy of the honour.

“I don’t think I’ve done anything extraordinary. I’m just doing my bit,” he said. “I do a lot of work for the church, I clean up litter, and I clear the pavements of ice ­– just ordinary things that anyone would do. I haven’t got a clue who recommended me.”

Meanwhile in the village of Lodsworth, Martin Lester was “very surprised” when he got news of his British Empire Medal.

The 76-year-old has helped building a village hall, a community shop, and “Lodsworth Larder” for sharing food.

But he felt the entire community deserved the award.

“The larder was probably the best thing that’s happened to this village, but it was the local pub that really helped out,” he said.

“We’ve got one of the best village halls in Sussex that we keep updating and everyone in this village is fantastic. I’ve been working on the parish council for 20 years and it has been a full team effort.

“When I got the letter about the award I was told to keep schtum, which has been difficult. But it’s good fun.”

University of Sussex Professor Alan Lehmann has been made a CBE for service to medical science.

The professor of molecular genetics has made groundbreaking research into two rare genetic conditions.

Jane Goldingham, 62, from Brighton, was awarded an MBE for services to social work. She has taken a leading role in East Sussex and across the South East to improve learning, practice and support for social workers.

She was a frontline social worker for 16 years, and more recently, she has worked in adult social care.

Samson Rattigan, 28, from Brighton, was awarded a BEM for services to young people and families from gypsy and traveller communities in Sussex.

And Lindfield charity chief Paul Ramsbottom has been given an OBE.