Honours list recognises people from all areas of Suffolk life
- Credit: Archant
Volunteers and professionals ranging from the new Chancellor of the University of Suffolk to a boxing coach have been honoured for their work in the community in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
Ginny Shoesmith, 62, a Police Community Support Officer, has been recognised for her services to policing and the community in Ipswich with a British Empire Medal.
Mrs Shoesmith has been a PCSO for the last 10 years having moved across from another civilian role within the police after a recommendation from a friend. She said: “Having always done secretarial work it was a complete career change at 52. I found my niche and have loved every minute of it.”
News of her award came as a complete shock to Mrs Shoesmith, she reveals: “I said this is definitely a scam. My husband read the letter and said I don’t think it is!
“I was in complete shock and I felt completely embarrassed. I have done a job I love for 10 years I have not done anything special.”
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Jennifer Mullan, 71, from Sudbury, was made an MBE for services to scouting and young people in Suffolk. Delighted with the honour, Mrs Mullan felt that she must be living a blessed life to get such recognition just for having fun and doing what she loves.
“This sort of thing doesn’t happen to people like me,” she said. “I have been given this for having the time of my life. The young people I work with as Scouts and volunteers are incredible. I absolutely encourage anyone to join the organisation for everything it can give to young people. It doesn’t matter what age you join at as a volunteer, it is about the skills you can bring and learn with the Scouts.”
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Mrs Mullan started with the Scouts when she had two young children 40 years ago and quickly fell in love with the organisation. Camping, adventures and hands-on survival skills are just some of the experiences the Scouts offer that are difficult to find elsewhere.
She added: “There’s nowhere else you can experience so many interesting and dangerous things in a safe environment – the supervision of the volunteers means young people can enjoy so many things. All I have given is my time. I really have lived a blessed life.”
Sally Bendall now has a British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of her work for the agricultural sector of East Anglia.
For over 20 years Mrs Bendall has led the way in ensuring children in the region learn about the importance of food and farming - a vital aspect of the economy in the East of England.
She develops entertaining ways to connect with young people via interactive school presentations, as well as trails on her own farm that students can visit to expand their students’ rural education.
Sitting as chairman of the Farm Retail Association for four years, 10 years on the board of Chadacre (advocating for the education of the public in all aspects of farming) and an ambassador Linking the Environment and Farming (LEAF),
Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk Hospital, heaped praise on staff after being honoured with a CBE for services to health and patient safety.
Dr Dunn, who has been at the helm of WSFT for four years, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this recognition but I accept it on behalf of all staff working with compassion and commitment across the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
“It is their effort and hard work that should really be honoured and I salute them for the outstanding care they provide to the west Suffolk community each and every day.”
Dr Dunn, who lives in Norton, near Bury St Edmunds, holds a PhD in economics from the University of Leeds and is also a visiting professor at the University of the West of England.
Barbara Gale, chief executive of St Nicholas Hospice Care, has been made an MBE in recognition of her contribution to hospice care, supporting people living as carers or coping with dying and bereavement.
Dr Gale has been involved in hospice care for more than 30 years, with 11 years as the chief executive of the hospice, which supports people living with caring, dying and bereavement.
She said: “I was astounded when the letter arrived on my doorstep. I feel privileged and humbled to think that I am worthy of this award and I thank the people that took the time to nominate me. Our founder Canon Richard Norburn, who sadly died in 2017, has been my inspiration and I try to carry on his vision and ambition of what hospice care should be like for our local community.”
Dr Gale thanked the team of 180 staff and 650 volunteers, trustees and family for all their support.
Michael Bryant, 72, from Bury St Edmunds, who founded the most successful boxing club in Suffolk in 1981, was also made an MBE.
Some of the young boxers have had brushes with the law, but thanks to Eastgate Amateur Boxing Club have turned their lives around – with some even becoming professional. He said: “I’m humbled by it. I’m very pleased to receive it but I think it’s a reflection on the club and the coaches we have here.
“We’ve got a great team of coaches and one of them – Dale Robertson – has been with me for 20-odd years. I still enjoy it and it’s a great privilege seeing the youngsters train and watching them develop. It’s not just the boxing, the training helps them with confidence, self-esteem, and gives them a focus, and it’s great to see them go into the world of work.
“Some of them come up to me when I bump into them and say, ‘if it wasn’t for boxing, I might have done something else in life’.”
Dr Helen Pankhurst, the new Chancellor of the University of Suffolk, and a senior adviser at CARE international, gets a CBE for services to gender equality.
Dr Pankhurst is the great-granddaughter of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst.
She was officially installed as Chancellor of the University less than a week before Christmas.
She said that it was a great honour to follow in the footsteps of two legends of the Women’s suffrage movement: sisters Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Millicent Fawcett who came from Aldeburgh.
Sylvia Martin from Hadleigh has been awarded the MBE for political and public service.
A long-serving volunteer member of the Conservative Party she was also a local councillor and member of many community organisations in East Sussex before moving to Suffolk 18 months ago.
She is now secretary of the Hadleigh branch of the Conservatives.
She is also a member of the executive of the South Suffolk Conservative Association.
Patzi Shepperson who also lives in Hadleigh has been awarded the OBE for services to charity.
Head of Development for the Mayor’s Fund for London charity team, Ms Shepperson has been involved in fundraising for more than two decades.
She has been involved in a number of charities over the years including Save the Children.
And she was part of the Comic Relief team that organised the first ever Red Nose Day.
Long-serving Conservative MEP and former senior army officer Geoffrey Van Orden is awarded a CBE in the honours’ list.
He is one of seven MEPs representing the East of England and has been a member of the European Parliament since 1999. He will, of course, be leaving Strasbourg and Brussels along with all his UK colleagues when the country leaves the EU in the spring.
A former army Brigadier, Mr Van Orden has taken a keen interest in security and defence issues during his time as an MEP.
• Honours are given to people from all walks of life who have made a difference to their community. If you would like advice on how to nominate somebody or for more information, contact the Lieutenancy Office at Suffolk County Council via email.