New Year Honours: Dozens of community stalwarts across Essex recognised for their work

Pamela Hurcomb has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours

Pamela Hurcomb has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours - Credit: Archant

Community stalwarts in Essex have been recognised alongside TV personalities, singers and sportstars in the New Year Honours List.

Adam Hunt, Essex Police's solicitor, has been made an MBE

Adam Hunt, Essex Police's solicitor, has been made an MBE - Credit: Archant

Among those to receive an honour is teacher Nigel Spencer, from Harwich, who has been given an MBE for services to education.

He joins a list of famous figures being honoured including singer Katherine Jenkins, actress and Gavin and Stacey creator Ruth Jones, Marcus Setchell who delivered Prince George and Apprentice star Karren Brady.

Mr Spencer, 61, began teaching in 1975 and became the youngest deputy head in Essex at Ramsey Primary School in 1979.

He also taught at Harwich Primary School and currently works part-time at Harwich’s All Saints Primary.

During his career, Mr Spencer has worked with Carnegie Book Winner Jan Mark, set up a junior tree warden scheme with Tendring District Council, organised a commemoration of the 1995 war anniversary celebrations in Ramsey and started the first school bookshop in north Essex.

He also founded youth group, Ramsey Crusaders, with his wife Therese and vicar Stephen Northfield in 1990 which now has around 80 members.

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Mr Spencer, who has no plans to retire, said: “Children keep you young and you can never be bored or lonely when they are around. They are capable of doing things far more than we humans give them credit for.

“The greatest sadness I see today is that whilst children are relatively rich possessions wise, they often lack the attention and time that adults should be giving them whilst they grow up.”

Essex Police’s force solicitor has been honoured for services to policing and picks up an MBE.

Adam Hunt, 46, from West Mersea, has been the force’s solicitor for 14 years, managing all legal work generated by Essex Police.

He has mastered specialist legal areas including witness protection and child protection during his employment.

Mr Hunt said: “I was and still am shocked to have been chosen to receive this honour.

“It is really nice to have such appreciation from the force and be recognised in this way for basically doing the job you’re paid to do.” Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh added: “He is a valuable member of the force and I am extremely grateful for his commitment, drive and determination to provide the best possible service to the police and the public which has been demonstrated by him being personally available both day and night, even forgoing family holidays when required.” Former ward sister at Colchester General Hospital, Pamela Hurcomb, was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) honouring her services to healthcare.

Mrs Hurcomb dedicated more than 51 years of full-time work in the profession and enjoyed two spells at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

Her varied career, which includes three spells in Africa - two in Zambia and one in Nigeria - and working in private, as well as NHS hospitals, has covered many specialities including paediatrics, intensive care, medicine, surgery and midwifery.

She trained as a nurse in 1959 aged just 17, spent 13 years at The Oaks private hospital in Colchester and helped set up what became known as the Nuffield Hospital in Ipswich.

She first worked in Colchester in 1974, when she joined Essex County Hospital as a sister in intensive care and recovery before leaving to work in Africa again.

After returning in 1982, she did some shifts at Essex County Hospital as an agency nurse and rejoined the trust in 2002 before retiring in 2010.

Deanna Walker, senior academic officer at the University of Essex, was given British Empire Medal (BEM) recognising her services to higher education.

Ms Walker has worked at the university for 24 years and supports education provision in academic departments.

A spokesman for the University of Essex described her as a “role model” and having an “incredible source of knowledge for academic colleagues”.

Other award recipients in north Essex included Action for Kids Charitable Trust founder Sally Hayes-Smith, who was given an OBE for services to children and young people.

A BEM was also awarded to Donald Coleman for services to music and the community in Rivenhall and Silver End.

MBEs were also awarded to Janine Bush for services to the Government legal service, Dr Barbara Knowles, senior science policy adviser at the Society of Biology, for services to science communication and the environment and Ministry of Defence engineer and equipment examiner Roy Williams, for services to defence engineering.

Essex County Council leader David Finch said: “Our county is made up of so many dedicated people making such a significant contribution whether it is in the public, private or voluntary sectors.

“It is these people like them up and down the county who have a key role in the social, economic and cultural success of our city, towns and villages.”

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