Incredible support for those most in need lead Essex’s New Year honours

Market Field School headteacher Gary Smith has been made an OBE Picture: SU ANDERSON

Market Field School headteacher Gary Smith has been made an OBE Picture: SU ANDERSON - Credit: Su Anderson

New Year’s honours recipients in Essex have all been helping those who need it most this year.

Philomena received the news of her MBE last month.

Philomena received the news of her MBE last month. Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

Those receiving New Year honours in Essex have gone above and beyond to help those in need across the county.

They include people who have raised vital cash for charity, people who have dedicated their lives to assisting those in need and others who help children and young people get the best start in life.

Gary Smith, 61, headteacher at Market Field School in Elmstead Market and chairman of the Essex Special Schools Education Trust (ESSET), has been made an OBE in recognition of his services to children with special educational needs in the county.

He said it was humbling to receive the honour.

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“I get up every day and do a job I enjoy, and now I’ve been honoured in this way,” he said.“It’s an amazing feeling.

“It’s the best job in the world, and it’s never boring.

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“You have the highs and lows, but there’s always something happening.

“When I go back in January I’ll have been at Market Field for the best part of 30 years.

Christopher Bridge has been made an MBE Picture: COLCHESTER INSTITUTE

Christopher Bridge has been made an MBE Picture: COLCHESTER INSTITUTE - Credit: Colchester Institute

“We’ve gone from having 69 kids to over 300, and built a college.

“We’re now probably the biggest special school in Essex.

“I feel incredibly lucky. I received the letter and I’ve been invited up to the palace. It’s exciting.”

Philomena Ann Drake, from Colchester, has been made an MBE in recognition for a life’s work helping others thorough Citizens Advice in Essex.

She said she was surprised to hear the news of her honour.

“I can’t really believe it,” she said. “I have interesting work and I know it goes to help a lot of people help themselves out of their problems - that’s why I keep doing it.”

Caroline Gard, from Frinton-on-Sea, has been made a BEM for her service to Young People and to Charity. Mrs Gard started raising money for charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) following the sudden death of her son Andy.

Despite being a fit and active teenager, Andy suffered a massive heart attack just two days before his 18th birthday in July 1997.

Mrs Gard, and her husband Peter, found out about CRY six months after his death and realised there were other families out there like them.

She has worked tirelessly ever since to raise as much money she can for the charity including taking on the London Marathon three times.

CRY supports families of young people who have suffered a sudden cardiac arrest as well as providing heart screening to find those with undiagnosed heart problems.

Robert Villa, from Chelmsford, has been made a BEM in recognition of his work with in his community.

The 77-year-old has dedicated almost 50 years of his life in various roles, including as a parish councillor, and has raised money for community projects for children and young people in his local area.

He and his wife have also focused their efforts on supporting Little Havens Hospice, the Royal British Legion and the Demelza House Children’s Hospice.

Christopher Bridge, chairman of Colchester Institute, has been made an MBE for services to further education and skills.

He said: “I am delighted to be honoured, not just on a personal basis, but also as it recognises the work that all the governors at Colchester Institute do.”

Here are all those recognised in 2018’s New Year’s honours

Knights Bachelor

Alastair Cook, CBE

Cricketer from Wickham Bishops. For services to cricket. (Essex/Bedfordshire)

Roy Stone, CBE

Principal private secretary. Government chief Whip’s Office. For parliamentary and public service. (Essex)

Order of the British Empire


Stephen Fidler

Deputy director Road Investment Strategy Client, Department for Transport. For services to Transport. (Essex)

Anne-Marie Fry

Head of Chemical Biological, Radiological and Explosive (Protect), Home Office. For services to Countering Terrorism. (Essex)

Gary Smith

Headteacher Market Field School. For services to children with Special Educational Needs in Essex. (Elmstead Market, Essex)


Fiona Bailey

Executive Officer Troubled Families Employment Adviser, Work Services Directorate, Department for Work and Pensions. For services to Vulnerable Families and Social Justice in Essex. (Essex)

Robert Bradfield

Hydrographic Surveyor. For services to Navigation and Maritime Safety on the West Coast of Scotland. (Saffron Waldon, Essex)

Christopher Bridge

Chairman Corporation Board, Colchester Institute. For services to Further Education and Skills. (Colchester, Essex)

Philomena Drake

Formerly Chair of Trustees Colchester Citizens’ Advice. For services to Disadvantaged People in Essex. (Colchester, Essex)

Adam Thomas

Senior Press Officer and Spokesman Defence and Security Organisation Events Team, Department for International Trade. For services to UK Defence and Security. (Essex)

British Empire Medal


Caroline Gard

For services to Young People and to Charity. (Essex)

Aimee Hinton (Aimee WESTON)

Social Worker. Essex County Council. For services to Children’s Social Care. (Essex)

Howard Rayner

Special Superintendent Essex Police. For services to Policing. (Chelmsford, Essex)

Robert Villa

For services to the community in Chelmsford Essex. (Chelmsford, Essex)

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