Who are the Suffolk heroes named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list?
PUBLISHED: 22:30 27 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:13 28 December 2019
In a year where division has been a common tale, Suffolk can stand proud thanks to the community champions honoured in this year’s New Year commendations from Her Majesty.
Among them were people who have dedicated their lives to helping or even saving the lives of others, while those who use their spare time to assist those in need at their own expense also made the list. Some are already a household name.
Humphrey Burton CBE
Making his name known nationwide for his role in charge of music and the arts for BBC Television, Aldeburgh's Humphrey Burton CBE was named a Knight Bachelor for his services to classical music, the arts and media.
The 88-year-old, who read music and history at Cambridge University, now plays a role at the town's cinema and has worked alongside other Suffolk celebrities, including Bill Turnbull, in making the classic venue a place to be.
Bridget McIntyre MBE
Being made an MBE for her services to women, businesswoman-turned-charity leader Bridget McIntyre said it is an honour to see her team's work to aid the community be recognised by the palace.
Mrs McIntyre, 58, said: "Things like this are always a surprise, aren't they? I'm so excited that the work we do is being recognised nationally.
"We have had a fantastic 2019, especially for fundraising, which helps enable us to do more work.
"I've been very fortunate in my life and had a great career - and a lot of that is to do with confidence. I see so many people low on confidence and think: 'This is what I want to help give to people.'"
Mrs McIntyre plans to expand The Blossom Charity's services to men for the very first time in 2020, and is also starting the Deserving Women project to help rebuild the confidence and self-esteem of women who have undergone cancer treatment.
Yvonne Mason OBE
Dedicating her life to helping young people in Suffolk and Norfolk, The Mason Trust founder Yvonne Mason was made an OBE for the assistance she gives to people aged 12 to 25.
The trust has recently launched a new platform that seeks to help industries attract the plethora of young talent in the county.
Gerry Rayman MBE
Medical hero Gerry Rayman, 67, was made an MBE for his services to caring for the Suffolk population.
Professor Rayman, who developed the "Ipswich Touch Test" for diabetes patients - which is now adopted worldwide - said: "I'm absolutely delighted - it is a really nice thing to be recognised - but more than that, it's a reflection on the support of my team, the patients and everyone at Ipswich Hospital.
"It's really nice to get feedback to get patients and others - it's a fantastic thing about Suffolk that we have a sense of community. If I worked in a big city, I wouldn't get to know people like I do here. Working within the community is so important to me.
"Will it change anything? No. I enjoy doing my work - my greatest ambition is to see diabetes care across the country improved. This isn't an honour, it's a gift."
Bryan Garnham British Empire Medal (BEM)
But no inclusion came more of a shock to Great Barton-based charity star Bryan Garnham, 84, who has made a name for himself county-wide for his devotion to the Guide Dogs charity and helping disabled children attend pantomimes for a decade.
Mr Garnham, who has been handed a British Empire Medal (BEM), said: "I took one look and thought: 'Cor, what's that, a bus pass?'
"I'm honestly so excited, it has been a long time coming! Ever since I first raising money for Guide Dogs when I was in the navy in 1963, I've just loved it. All in all, I reckon I've raised around £81,000 for a variety of charities and I'm not ready to stop.
"Life is for living. If you can't do a good deed, don't do a bad one - that's my life motto."
John Last British Empire Medal (BEM)
Also receiving a BEM was Leiston on-call firefighter John Last, as well as Cricket World Cup volunteer Juliet Wiles.
Mr Last, who has served at the fire station for 47 years, said: "It was a bit of a shock, I was very surprised but feel so privileged and honoured to receive it.
"If I'm ever alerted, I'll be there as I want to help the community. You do come across a lot of human suffering in firefighting, but knowing you are helping your local community and are playing a part in it is great."
Bill Parker British Empire Medal (BEM)
Coastal Partnership East (CPE) founder Bill Parker, 60, also received a BEM for his services to coastal management, which has seen him rise to become a highly-regarded expert in the field.
Working with a 16-person team, the CPE covers almost the entire Norfolk and Suffolk coast - 173km in total - to help manage and understand a rapidly changing coast. His work has now been replicated nationwide and is recognised as a national exemplar in the world of coastal management.
Gareth Wilson Police Medal
Having protected the people of Suffolk for more than four years as chief constable, before moving to the Ministry of Defence Police, Gareth Wilson was given a Queen's Police Medal for his 30 years of service.
Now a deputy chief constable, the former Essex Police officer worked on a number of high profile cases in East Anglia before settling home in Suffolk.
DCC Wilson said: "It was a real surprise to be nominated, let alone receive the award.
"It's a lovely feeling but it reflects on the hard work of the constabulary.
"Living in and being a part of the community in Suffolk is so important to me. I've worked in four counties, but I can honestly say Suffolk is by far the best police force in terms of its staff and the support of the wider public.
"When something happens in Suffolk, the community hurts and they come together. It really is the nicest place to work."
"I've been paid to keep secrets for 30 years, but for this one it's been a hard job! I think I'll stay up until 10.30pm just to let my family know, as it has been such a reflection on them too, especially for my parents and how they've raised me."
Humphrey Burton, CBE - For services to classical music, the arts and media
Yvonne Mason - For services to young people in Norfolk and Suffolk
Bridget Fiona McIntyre - For services to women
Professor Gerrard Rayman - For services to diabetes care
Catherine Ryan - For services to nursing and to fundraising in Suffolk
Bryan Garnham - For services to fundraising and to the community in Bury St Edmunds
John Last - For services to the Fire and Rescue Service and the community in Suffolk
Bill Parker - For services to coastal management
Juliet Wiles - For services to cricket
Gareth Ian Wilson - For services to policing
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