Community volunteers and unsung heroes across Suffolk recognised in Queen’s New Year Honours List

Professor Hugh Godfrey Maturin Williamson has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours

Professor Hugh Godfrey Maturin Williamson has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s community stalwarts and unsung heroes have been recognised in today’s New Year Honours list.

Fifteen people from the county, including a maritime safety expert who has spent four decades protecting the region’s coastlines and a computer technician who helps older people reap the benefits of modern technology to avoid loneliness, are honoured.

Lord Tollemache, formerly Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk, was made Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO).

Professor Hugh Williamson, FBA, who has lived in Southwold for 25 years, said he was “very surprised and gratified” to be awarded an OBE.

Prof Williamson, 67, was formerly the Regius Professor of Hebrew at the University of Oxford and was given the award for services to scholarship and theology.

He held the crown-appointed title for 22 years until his retirement in September.

Prof Williamson said: “During the course of my work I’ve been quite involved in a number of other institutions, so I think that is what they are acknowledging with this.”

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Michael Davies, from Station Road, Sudbury, was awarded an OBE for services to maritime safety.

Working as the head of maritime resilience planning and consequence management at the Department of Transport, Mr Davies’ job involves ensuring the smooth running of the UK’s ports and planning against tidal surges, inclement weather and even clouds of volcanic ash.

Mr Davies, 65, said: “I’ve been a civil servant for well over 40 years and the whole ethos is to serve. You don’t expect recognition; you just work for the good of the country.”

Roger Wright, chief executive of Aldeburgh Music, was honoured for services to music. The 58-year-old received the CBE, having been the controller of BBC Radio 3 and the director of the BBC Proms before taking over at Aldeburgh Music, based at Snape Maltings, in September.

Meanwhile, Keith Paterson, 83, from Newmarket, received an MBE for services to promoting information technology to elderly people in the UK.

Described as a “true trailblazer”, Mr Paterson started helping the over 50s with computers in 1999, establishing his own website to help others resolve computer and internet issues.

Mr Paterson said: “I really do believe in the importance of older people connecting to the net for numerous reasons, but particularly to prevent loneliness, which is increasing as families go their own ways and as many lose a partner and may have many years of living on their own.”

Christopher Wells, of Gislingham, near Eye, was awarded an MBE for services to education. He has been the chair of governors at the Federated Schools of Gislingham and Palgrave for around 10 years.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled and would like to pay tribute to the staff and governors. I am conscious of the enormous amount of work they do.

“I believe we have raised the standards of the schools, and in the long run every school below a certain size will need some form of collaboration, formal or informal. We are certainly reaping the benefits.”

Sue Wigglesworth was another recipient of the MBE, awarded for her services to the community in Polstead in south Suffolk.

The 69-year-old has been chairman of the Polstead Village Hall committee for the last 20 years and has been an independent representative at Babergh District Council since 1990.

The married mother-of-two said: “It has come completely out of the blue. I am just overwhelmed and honoured.”

Improving the main stage at the village hall and providing lunch gatherings for the elderly were just some of her highlights.

Marian Andrews received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in Saxmundham.

She is an enthusiastic supporter of local activities and was the co-founder and organiser of the Saxmundham Arts Festival for a decade.

She said: “I think it is really important to be involved in the community.”

The Reverend Sue Nutt, 69, from Blacksmith Lane, Barnham, said it was a “huge surprise” to receive a BEM for services to the community in Barnham and Bury St Edmunds.

Working as a Non Stipendiary Anglican priest and a chaplain at St Nicholas Hospice Care in Bury, she said: “It’s a lovely community and I feel this (award) has been given to the community, not just to me.”

Lance Cruse, who works for the Border Force at the Port of Felixstowe, received the BEM for services to the protection of endangered species.

Judith Gowen, known as Judy, was awarded a BEM for her services to the Aldeburgh Carnival and its commitment to the east Suffolk community and its charities.

Paul Marshall, who retired as Suffolk Constabulary’s deputy chief constable in July after joining as a 16-year-old cadet in 1980, received a Queen’s Police Medal (QPM).

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled that my police service has been recognised. I am very proud of my service with Suffolk Constabulary.”

PC Simon John Alcock, the other QPM recipient at Suffolk Constabulary, said: “I’m extremely pleased and proud to receive this award.”

Meanwhile, Professor Peter Holman, who lives in Colchester and directs the Suffolk Villages Festival, was awarded an MBE.