Recognition for Suffolk community stalwarts in New Year’s Honours list

Paul Winter of Ipswich Building Society.

Paul Winter of Ipswich Building Society. - Credit: Lucy taylor

Community heroes, including arts contributors and education leaders have been named in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List.

View the full list of Suffolk honours here.

Ipswich Building Society’s chief executive Paul Winter, instrumental in the creation of the Ipswich City Deal and the establishment of the MyGo job centre for young people, has been made an MBE for his work in promoting skills training and employment chances for young people in east Suffolk.

He said: “I am delighted, but it really is something that recognises the work of a lot of people in bringing the City Deal to Ipswich and getting MyGo up and running.”

Dedication to the Lions Club of Stowmarket and District, and other community organisations, has seen Ernest Pearce, of Cotton, receive a British Empire Medal (BEM), having first started charity work where he was living in Bacton in 1948.

Mr Pearce has helped form football and bowls clubs in nearby Bacton and has been a parish councillor for 45 years. “I don’t do anything to be thanked for,” he said. “I do it because I enjoy it and to help people who aren’t as fortunate.”


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Awarded an MBE for services to education is head of classics and senior master at Orwell Park School, Robert Bass.

Since joining the school in 1987, Mr Bass has been influential in developing the classical languages curriculum at the school, including in Latin and ancient Greek, and has written more than 20 books on the subject.

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“It was a total surprise,” he said. “It’s fantastic because I love the subject, the kids here are great and I have the great support of the headmaster, governors, staff and parents.”

Arts lover Rebecca Lyne, 41, has been awarded a BEM for services to the community for her work in bringing creative activities to Eye, particularly in her role as volunteer co-ordinator at The Bank arts venue. She was also instrumental in transforming the former HSBC building into a thriving arts centre in 2013.

Ms Lyne, who lives in Brockdish, said: “I am delighted that the project and the work the community has put in has been recognised with this award. Everybody here has worked so hard to make this project viable.”

Gina Long, who has raised almost £2.5million for people with life-threatening or life-limiting illnesses across Suffolk during 40 years of fundraising, has been recognised with an MBE for charitable services.

The 53-year-old, who was brought up in Ipswich but now lives in Fornham St Martin, near Bury St Edmunds, said the award was “completely unexpected”.

Musician Hattie Bennett, director of Music in Felixstowe, was “totally surprised” to be awarded a BEM. She formed Music in Felixstowe, now starting its 16th season, and recently launched a string group in one of the town’s primary schools. She now has plans for an open-air concert, and is working on gaining charity status.

Chief executive of Harlow Council Malcolm Morley, who lives in Woodbridge, receives the OBE for services to local government for his work in transforming the council into an award winning authority, Lowestoft man Ian Clayton, principal of Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form, receives an MBE for services to education, while Maxine Hammond, a higher executive officer at the Ministry of Defence, from Woodbridge, is made an MBE for her work with services personnel and their families.

Founder of the International Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, Michael Laskey, of Leiston, is receiving a BEM for services to contemporary poetry in Suffolk. In 1989, he founded the festival and was director for its first 10 years. He also co-founded poetry magazine Smiths Knoll in 1991.

“I think it’s a credit to everyone who’s worked on the festival for the last 27 years,” he said.

Former Suffolk County Council chief executive Lin Homer – who became the county council’s first female chief executive in 1998 – has been made a Dame. She has also been chief executive of Birmingham City Council, permanent secretary of the Department of Transport and since 2011 has been chief executive of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

She said: “I have worked with some great teams over the years, whether it was county council staff organising the Queen’s Golden Jubilee visit to Suffolk (in 2002) or the smaller teams working on tax projects. This is recognition for them as well.”

Made an OBE for services to music is Aldeburgh Music conductor Steuart Bedford, 76. He played a key role in the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival, which focused on the centenary celebrations of Benjamin Britten, who helped found the festival in 1948.

Sam Wilson is made an MBE for charitable and voluntary services to the community. Aged 74, he is one of Suffolk’s Lord Lieutenant’s deputies, a trustee of the Earl Stonham Trust and is on the council of reference for the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra.

“I wasn’t expecting it and was very surprised,” he said. “The real work is done by the people paid by the charities or those that volunteer, and certainly in the case of St Elizabeth Hospice that’s really where the praise should go.”

Keith Ottywill received the BEM for services to education, for his work to educate special needs schoolchildren in life-saving skills, and Anthony Hubbard the MBE for services to heritage and the community in Woodbridge.

Angus Cundey, chairman London-based tailors Henry Poole & Co, was made an MBE for services to the bespoke tailoring trade and to tailors’ charities. Mr Cundey, who is also chairman of Milden Parish Council, was evacuated to Aldeburgh during the Second World War and spent four years at Framlingham College.

He moved to Milden with his wife when he retired, although the 78-year-old, still works one day a week at the family business.

Deputy chairman of the University Campus Suffolk board, Celia Edey, has been awarded the OBE for services to higher education in Suffolk and Essex. She has been a key player in UCS’s plans to become an independent university. She is also treasurer of the University of Essex.

Thetford man Adrian Smith, deputy director of the National Offender Management Service, has been awarded the CBE for services to HM Prison Service, and Carol Dorothy Wiles is made an MBE for services to the community in Harleston, south Norfolk.

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