Long list of honours for Suffolk and Essex

THE man who led the police investigation into the Steve Wright killings in Ipswich is included in one of the longest honours lists for Suffolk and Essex of recent years.

Graham Dines

THE man who led the police investigation into the Steve Wright killings in Ipswich is included in one of the longest honours lists for Suffolk and Essex of recent years.

Superintendent Stewart Gull, who has been head of Protective Service for Suffolk constabulary for nearly two years, receives the Queen's Police Medal.

He took charge of the inquiry into the disappearance and murders of five prostitutes in Suffolk in December 2006 which turned into one of the most high profile manhunts in modern policing.


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“This was the most complex and challenging inquiry with which a provincial police force has been faced,” says Supt. Gull. “Forty police forces from across the UK came together to help in the hunt for the killer. It was a unique inquiry which brought worldwide attention to the county - the disappearance of five girls in just 10 days was a dark time for Suffolk.” Steve Wright was sentenced to five life sentences at Ipswich Crown Court last year for their murders.

Supt. Gull, who is head of Protective Service with Suffolk police, is 46 and married with two grown up children. Born in Lowestoft and raised in Ipswich, he became a member of Suffolk Police Cadets in 1979 and his first posting on joining the county constabulary in 1981 was to Lowestoft.

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“I was very surprised and humbled to be told I was to receive the QPM,” he said. “It is recognition of the work that the whole constabulary undertook in solving the murders.”

Other high-profile cases he has have been against Cara Martin-Brown, Marc Kelsey and Ian Halls, all of which resulted in successful convictions.

There is finally something to cheer for Delia Smith after the trauma of seeing her beloved Norwich City relegated at the end of last season. The cookery queen is promoted to CBE - for services to the food industry.

She commented: “Obviously it's a very, very great honour. I've been writing recipes for 40 years now and so I imagine it's recognition of that.

“It does feel special. When I got my OBE, I met the Queen so I might meet her again, or it may be another member of the Royal Family. It will be a great day out and we'll have a celebration.”

Doreen Savage, who has been three times mayor of Felixstowe and also served as chairman of Suffolk Coastal council, is made an MBE for services to local government and is “absolutely thrilled”.

She said: “When the letter came I just kept reading it and reading it - I couldn't believe it.

“It's really nice and such a great honour.

“I think it's also a reflection not just of the work I do, but everybody who is involved in local councils and who work hard for their communities.”

She has served as a member of Felixstowe Town Council since 1983 and Suffolk Coastal since 1987 and is a cabinet member.

Her biggest passion is young people and ensuring their voices are heard and they are involved in consultation and decision-making.

The former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, whose family comes from Sisted near Braintree, receives a knighthood for services to literature and Professor David Baulcombe FRS from Norwich, Professor of Botany and Royal Society Research Professor, University of Cambridge, is knighted for services to plant science.

The Rt Hon Samuel George Armstrong Vestey, from Thurlow in West Suffolk, who is The Master of the Horse, is made a knight commander of the Royal Victorian Order, which is a personal gift from the Queen.

For services to the defence industry, the CBE goes to Philip Robinson of Chelmsford, managing director of SELEX Communications Ltd. The OBE has been awarded to Leonard Tyler, of Chelmsford, chief executive Officer of EADS Defence and Security Systems Ltd, again for services to the defence industry.

The Chairman of the Suffolk Architectural Heritage Trust who is also the former head of the Ipswich Buildings Preservation Trust, Thomas Gondris, has been awarded the MBE services to conservation and heritage in Suffolk.

Mr Gondris, 79, moved to Ipswich more than 40 years when his company H. Urban Ltd relocated from London to Hadleigh, He retired as chairman from the firm, which supplies bottling and packaging plants to the food and drink industry.

“I am pleased to have played a part in the restoration of significant buildings,” said Mr Gondris, who lives in St Edmund's Road, Ipswich. He served as a Labour councillor on the former Ipswich county borough councillor and for a short time on the Ipswich district council after local government reorganisation in 1974.

Born in Czechoslovakia, he came to England as a war refugee, his parents being killed in World War II. Mr Gondris is married with three children and six grandchildren.

The work of the Ipswich Holiday Help for Children charity has been recognised with the award of the MBE to its 82-year-old chairman Don Kitt.

The organisation was founded more than 30 years' ago by Mr Kitt, his late wife Maureen, and their friend Jenny McOmbie. “Our aim is to help those who can't afford it to go on school trips, caravan holidays, and visits to relatives,” said Mr Kitt, who lives in Larchcroft Road, Ipswich.

“We send the money on the recommendation of teachers, social workers, doctors, and health visitors - we do not deal directly with families but give out donations following referrals from the professionals.”

He gave one example of the type of case which qualifies for money. “A few years ago, the Westbourne Jazz Orchestra went on a concert overseas trip, but the family of one talented 12 year-old could not afford to send her. After the school got in touch with us, we sent an immediate cheque.”

MBEs have been awarded to William Tyler, chairman of the governors of North East Essex Adult Community College, for services to adult education in the county, to John Halls of Walton-on-the-Naze for services to the community in Walton-on-the-Naze, and to Brian Jackson of Stock near Chelmsford for voluntary service to Muscular Dystrophy Charities.

Lt Colonel Ronald Warren receives the MBE in recognition for the work he undertakes in the community of Saxmundham while for services to art, the MBE goes to Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy of Wickham Market.

Malcolm Berridge has been made an MBE for services to the community in Lowestoft. He is chairman of the Lowestoft Players theatre group and also has been chairman of the trustees of the Broad House Museum in Nicholas Everitt's Park in Oulton Broad. A former chief executive of Waveney district council, he is involved with the Lowestoft and Plaisir Twinning Association.

An MBE award has capped a memorable week for Craig Dearden-Phillips who has been honoured by the Queen just a week after becoming county councillor.

Mr Dearden-Phillips surprised many by landing a seat on Suffolk County Council in last week's local elections. He has now earned an accolade for services to social enterprise as the founder and chief executive of Cambridge-based charity, Speaking Up, which supports and empowers people with learning disabilities.

Twenty years voluntary service has earned Maxine Kasicki a MBE for her work with victim support in west Suffolk. Ms Kasicki, who has combined the work with a job as adult guidance worker for Suffolk County Council, said: “I am very excited by the honour and it was a very nice shock - it was the last thing in the world I imagined. My work in victim support has been very special and it is a great honour to be trusted by people during what is a difficult time for them.”

During her voluntary career, Ms Kasicki, who lives in Ixworth, has chaired victim support in Bury St Edmunds, west Suffolk and Suffolk and now trains future volunteers.

Professor Sheila Rodwell, who lives in the Bury area, earned an OBE for services to healthcare. She is director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Nutrition, part of the University of Cambridge.

In other awards, Captain Ian Robinson, from the Royal Anglian Regiment, was given a MBE and Group Captain Russell La Forte, former commanding officer at RAF Honington, earned a CBE.

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