Community heroes celebrated in Queen’s Birthday Honours
- Credit: Archant
Community heroes have been celebrated for their invaluable contribution to life in Suffolk and Essex.
These inspirational individuals, ranging from nurses, to charity workers, to magistrates, to CEOs, have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2019.
Jan Wright, who worked as a nurse specialising in orthopaedics at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, has been made an MBE for services to nursing.
She said it was "such a surprise" to be receive the honour.
"Obviously we get notified some weeks in advance," she said.
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"Looking at the envelope as it came through, when I opened it I thought: 'What is this?'
"All I kept saying was 'Oh!' I could feel this big smile across my face.
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"Never in a million years would I have expected that."
Mrs Wright, who has been qualified as a nurse for 40 years, said she had enjoyed "every placement" along the way.
"That's the wonderful thing about working with people - the patients you meet come from all walks of life," she said.
"I have known people that have been Spitfire pilots, somebody that was at Bletchley... We have met some amazingly brave people. It's a privilege."
She added: "I flexibly retired two years ago - I was so proud of the people that I worked with."
Charles Bowman JP, former Lord Mayor of London, has been made a Knight's Bachelor for his services to business, international trade and the City.
Mr Bowman, who has lived in Suffolk for 20 years, served as Lord Mayor in 2017/18.
He said: "I feel very honoured to be receiving the award, very honoured indeed.
"It was a privilege to have served as the 690th Lord Mayor of London.
"I have had incredible support."
Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer was made an MBE for services to the Suffolk community.
Throughout the winter, Mrs Ratzer helped lead efforts to ensure as many of Lowestoft's homeless or vulnerable community were given a hot meal, access to a shower and a bed for the night through the Thin Ice Project.
Throughout the four-month project, the group provided 607 beds, along with food, clothing, washing facilities and other support to those who desperately needed it.
She said: "It is quite humbling when you hear something like that. I just get on with my job and don't think I am doing anything special, so to hear that is such a shock, in a good way.
"I thought it was a joke at first, but I am very proud.
"I also think this should be something I am accepting on behalf of a lot of people, because it is only made possible by all of the staff at Access."
John Ankers JP, from Hadleigh in Suffolk, was made an MBE for services to young people and the magistracy service.
The 69-year-old has been diligently serving his community for decades - working as an employee of the Suffolk Children and Young People's Service (SCYPS); serving as a bench magistrate; sitting on the Suffolk advisory committee and founding the Montgomery Outreach Trust in Ipswich. By 1990 he had fostered more than 100 children over the course of 17 years.
He said: "I still don't think I believe it. I thought when I got the message it was a big joke."
In his 26 years as a magistrate, Mr Ankers said he has seen "a lot of changes in Suffolk".
He first worked in courts in Sudbury and Haverhill, then moved to Bury St Edmunds. Now he is based in Ipswich.
When asked about his work with young people, Mr Ankers said: "I don't look at it as fostering. When they come into our house we treat them as family."
He added: "The whole thing has been incredible."
Yuk Kiu Tse, chair of Anglo Chinese Cultural Exchange in Ipswich, was made an MBE for voluntary service to the community in Suffolk.
She said the honour came as a big surprise, as she didn't even know she had been nominated.
As the founder and driving force between the Anglo Chinese Cultural Exchange community group and a Chinese supplementary school, she has strengthened links between the communities in Ipswich - helping people to improve their language skills while sharing aspects of Chinese culture, such as Tai Chi and New Year celebrations, in the local area.
David Overton, from Bury St Edmunds, will be given a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his work within recruitment for Suffolk's Special Constabulary.
The 81-year-old, Suffolk Constabulary's longest serving volunteer, is being recognised for services to policing and to the community in Suffolk.
He started his career as special constable in 1967, serving until October 1998. After he retired from the Special Constabulary, he embarked on a new role as a Police Support Volunteer, assisting with the recruitment of new special constables in the west of the county.
Mr Overton, who has served the constabulary for 52 years, said: "I feel very honoured to even be considered but to be given a British Empire Medal, I am blown away.
"I really enjoy volunteering and passing on the knowledge and experience that I have gained over the years. During my time as a special constable for example, I had the privilege to work with some very dedicated officers who welcomed me as part of their team. The experience I gained from this still helps me even to this day."
He has also won many internal force awards including an accolade for completing 50 years of service, which he received during the constabulary's 50th anniversary ceremony in 2017.
Also to receive a BEM is Simon Harding, for voluntary service to the community in Bury St Edmunds.
The 77-year-old has raised more than £100,000 through Church Walks Charities, benefitting more than 35 local causes, by selling plants and produce with the help of his wife Valerie.
He said the nomination came "completely out of the blue and is very humbling".
"It is sad that the British Empire Medal can only be awarded to one person, so I would like to dedicate this medal to my wife, Valerie, and all who have helped Church Walks Charities raising funds for local causes making so many lives happier and safer."
Church Walks Charities ran from 1998 to 2017 when the couple closed it due to ill health.
The duo, of Church Walks in Bury St Edmunds, also organised two successful art shows in aid of St Nicholas Hospice Care and East Anglia's Children's Hospices.
Peter Kidd has received a BEM for services to the community in Little Bealings.
He said he was "absolutely astonished" at the news, and honoured to be recognised, but stressed his community work had always been a team effort.
"I am delighted," he said.
"I'm equally astonished the cabinet office picked it up and ran with it."
Mr Kidd said the highlight of his work in the community was spending 11 years as vice chair of the Rochford House Trust in Woodbridge, a drop in centre for children who had been excluded from school.
He said the team found the children often behaved badly at school because they hadn't eaten any breakfast, so the centre began to stock cereals and other snacks. Years later, many of the youngsters were still grateful for the difference it had made to their lives.
"Quite a number of them came back and helped us," Mr Kidd added.
Tonia Dawson, Macmillan clinical lead at the East of England Cancer Alliance, is to be honoured with an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to nursing and to people affected by cancer.
Ms Dawson, from Bury St Edmunds, has held various cancer nursing positions over the last 40 years, including 13 years as a senior nurse at the Royal Marsden Hospital. She later moved to Macmillan head office as their primary care nurse advisor and later became cancer nurse director in Anglia.
She said: "I'm really delighted and humbled. I've worked with people affected by cancer for over 40 years and they have taught me more about living then I ever could have imagined. I've also had the privilege of working with amazing colleagues and learnt that great cancer care can only be delivered by teamwork."
Duncan McLaren, from Newmarket, lead technical adviser for the Valuation Office Agency, will be made an MBE for services to the surveying profession.
Brian Tobin, CEO of Iceni in Ipswich, has also been made an MBE for services to drug rehabilitation in Suffolk.
Mark Hardingham, a chief fire officer at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, has received a Queen's Fire Service Medal (QFSM).
Graham Parker CBE, from Essex, who was formerly a fiscal expert at the Office for Budget Responsibility, has been awarded an order of the bath (CB) for services to the economy.
Stanley Davies, from Essex, has received a BEM for services to the community in Braintree.
Justine Everett, from Essex, who works as ground operations manager at EasyJet, has also received a BEM for services to border security.