Meet the Suffolk heroes recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours list

Ipswich's Tiger de Souza has been made an MBE for his work with the National Trust

Ipswich's Tiger de Souza has been made an MBE for his work with the National Trust - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The New Year Honours list has shone a light on members of the Suffolk community, including many who have made such a positive impact during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hospital heroes and people who have worked tirelessly for their communities are among those recognised in the Royal accolades.

Stephen Gee

Stephen Gee helped set up the coronavirus testing laboratory at Ipswich Hospital

Stephen Gee helped set up the coronavirus testing laboratory at Ipswich Hospital - Credit: ESNEFT

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) biomedical scientist Stephen Gee was one of the members of staff tasked with setting up a testing lab at Ipswich Hospital.

Mr Gee described himself as "a small cog in a huge machine" that now has capacity to test up to 1,200 specimens a day.

He has now been recognised for his heroic efforts in the fight against the virus with a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Mr Gee said: "The honour came as a total shock. I thought it was a wind-up.

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"It has been an incredible year and a huge team effort. Everyone has worked so hard and we have learned so much.

"Our staff have responded to every challenge."

Paul Fenton

Paul Fenton, ESNEFT's estates and facilities director, has been made an MBE

Paul Fenton, ESNEFT's estates and facilities director, has been made an MBE - Credit: ESNEFT

ESNEFT estates and facilities director Paul Fenton has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his work during the pandemic.

Mr Fenton, who is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the trust's hospitals, said the year had been "relentless" but made him proud to work for the NHS.

He said: "This year has been challenging and in many ways humbling. In what has been an awful year, the amazing things that have happened is the way NHS staff pulled together.

"I'm very proud to be a part of the NHS."

Richard Fawcett

Thurston's Richard Fawcett has received a BEM

Thurston's Richard Fawcett has received a BEM - Credit: Suffolk Libraries

Chairman of the Friends of Thurston Library, Richard Fawcett, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his pivotal efforts in running library services.

A former head of Thurston Community College, Mr Fawcett played his part in the opening of Thurston Library and also helped form Suffolk Libraries to run the county's services in 2012.

He said: "I’m amazed and delighted to receive this great honour.

"Working in Thurston with Suffolk Libraries staff, and the Friends Group whose members have each done so much, has been a privilege and pleasure. It is their tremendous work that is being recognised too."

Tiger de Souza

Ipswich's Tiger de Souza, who coordinated volunteers with the National Trust

Ipswich's Tiger de Souza, who coordinated volunteers with the National Trust - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Tiger de Souza, volunteering and inclusion director at the National Trust, has been rewarded for providing leadership to the charity's 50,000 volunteers during the pandemic.

Mr de Souza, from Ipswich, helped coordinate celebrations of Volunteers Week during the summer and supported charity shops in their reopening by helping fill vacant roles.

He said: "It's been the toughest year we have ever had. It's been enormously challenging and very difficult.

"I feel blessed with the team I work with - they have got me through it. There's no way we could have done it without it being a collective effort."

Pearl Brunning

Pearl Brunning has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Eriswell in the New Years Hon

Pearl Brunning has been awarded a BEM for services to Eriswell in the New Year Honours list - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Community champion Pearl Brunning, 81, has been involved with the St Laurence and St Peter church in Eriswell and has been a member of the parish council for nearly 50 years.

Her work over the years has benefitted the village as a whole, including her road safety work and taking a leading role on Eriswell's charitable committee.

For her efforts over several decades, Mrs Brunning has been awarded a BEM.

She said: "I was overcome when I found out - I couldn't believe it.

"I've always enjoyed doing these things."

Doug Field

New Anglia LEP chair Doug Field says region's New Deal funding package is "great news" Picture: EAS

Former New Anglia LEP chairman Doug Field has been made an OBE  - Credit: Archant

Doug Field stepped down as chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) earlier this year, but has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to business in Suffolk and Norfolk.

The East of England Co-op joint chief executive, who also has done charitable work with Suffolk Mind, paid tribute to his colleagues in business after such a difficult year.

He said: "This is incredible and an absolute privilege. But without the team, we wouldn't have achieved anything."

Bob Champion

Former jockey Bob Champion has been made a CBE

Former jockey Bob Champion has been made a CBE - Credit: Bob Champion

Former jockey Bob Champion was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the height of his career in 1979.

Mr Champion, who lives in Newmarket, established the Bob Champion Cancer Trust in 1983, which has gone on to assist in the opening of cancer research centres across the country.

Mr Champion said he was "absolutely chuffed" to be made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), having previously been awarded an MBE.

He said: "For me, this award is for the cancer trust and everyone involved in it. I have to dedicate it to them."

David Howse

Special Inspector David Howse of Suffolk police was awarded a BEM for voluntary service to policing

Special Inspector David Howse of Suffolk police was awarded a BEM for voluntary service to policing - Credit: Courtesy of Suffolk police

David Howse spends much of his free time away from his day job at the Ministry of Defence in a voluntary role as a Suffolk Special police officer.

The Special Inspector has been awarded a BEM after spending more than five years in a role which he started to "give a little bit back".

He said: "It's been a very interesting but tough year for us. 

"As a society, we've come to understand a bit more about volunteering due to Covid. 

"I'm completely humbled by this."

Max Milburn

Max Milburn, from Bury St Edmunds, has been recognised for his work over several decades

Max Milburn, from Bury St Edmunds, has been recognised for his work over several decades - Credit: Max Milburn

Bury St Edmunds man Max Milburn, 82, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his efforts working with charities since the 1950s.

He has fundraised thousands of pounds over the years for vital services such as St Nicholas Hospice and the Bury St Edmunds Round Table.

Mr Millburn said: "This came as a big surprise. 

"I'm sure there's great untapped fuel in the young generation. This is really intended to inspire people."

Lord-Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, said: "I am delighted so many outstanding Suffolk citizens have been singled out in Her Majesty the Queen's New Year Honours List. This has been such a difficult year for everyone, with so much sadness, but it has been quite remarkable how right across this wonderful county of ours, people have come forward in towns and villages, with offers of help and support."

If you would like to nominate somebody for an honour, visit the Suffolk website for help

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