Singer/pianist Jamie Cullum was among the honorees at the annual Gold Badge Awards ceremony today (Oct. 24), held in London and organized by the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters (BACS).

The annual event, now in its 34th year, pays tribute to people who are judged to have made a special and lasting contribution to the U.K.'s entertainment industry -- and in particular to the songwriting/publishing community -- from a variety of different disciplines.

This year, the Gold Badge winners included representatives of the live music, performing, broadcast and recording sectors. A committee of BACS members chooses the honorees.

Cullum was the highest-profile contemporary artist honored at the ceremony in London's Savoy Hotel, sponsored by U.K. authors body the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society. He is currently working on his fifth studio album for release through Universal Classics & Jazz in 2008.

Cullum told the audience, "I'm making a new album at the moment. It's definitely the best thing I've ever done."

It will be the follow-up to 2005 release "Catching Tales" which reached the top 50 on the Billboard 200 and went top 5 of the Official U.K. charts Co.'s albums listing.

Cullum, whose repertoire has included songs by Jeff Buckley, Jimi Hendrix and Radiohead as well as standards and his own material, described receiving the award from his songwriting peers as "overwhelming." He conceded, jokingly: "it may be uncool to perform other people's songs," before adding, "other people do it -- but they don't admit it!"

After collecting his Gold Badge, Beggars Group director Andy Heath issued a rallying cry to all sectors of the music industry to put pressure on their respective trade bodies to put aside their differences for the good of the industry in challenging times. Heath co-founded publisher Momentum Music in 1985 with Beggars owner Martin Mills, and subsequently launched the group's other publishing arm, 4AD Music Ltd.

In his acceptance speech, Heath noted that, in their day-to-day work, individual artists, writers, publishers, labels and concert promoters are capable of collaborating in a friendly fashion. "If we can do that," said Heath, "I don't understand why our representative bodies can't."

This year's other honorees were: veteran U.K. booking agent/manager Danny Betesh; Tim Blackmore, co-founder of radio production house Unique Broadcasting; Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis; percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie; vocal coaches Carrie and David Grant; music education veteran Gavin Henderson; producer/composer Mike Moran; classical trumpeter Maurice Murphy; studio engineer Steve Price and TV/film composer Debbie Wiseman.

Previous Gold Badge winners have included jazzers Ronnie Scott and Acker Bilk, veteran singers Cliff Richard and Shirley Bassey, the Who's Roger Daltrey and broadcasters Michael Parkinson and Richard Baker.