U2 frontman Bono, real name Paul Hewson, has been awarded an honorary knighthood in recognition of his work as both a musician and a leading poverty campaigner.

The British embassy in the singer's home city of Dublin announced the award while Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote to congratulate the 46-year-old, describing him as an "inspiration".

The prime minister particularly singled out the work that Bono had done to organise the series of LIVE 8 concerts in the summer of 2005 aimed at raising awareness of the burden of debt bourn by many African countries ahead of a meeting of the G8 group of nations.

"Without your personal contribution, we could not have achieved the results we did. So thank you and I look forward to continuing to work together to maintain momentum on Africa, and ensure leaders around the world meet the promises they have made," he wrote.

The award is the same as that made to fellow Live 8 figurehead Bob Geldof in 1986  failing to confer the title of "Sir" to the performer who is not a British national.

Ambassador David Reddaway will present the honour to Bono at a ceremony in Dublin early in the new year having received the Irish government's approval to grant the award.

23/12/2006 14:08:07