Suffolk: Royal honours for the county’s finest

Chief Executive Aldeburgh Music Jonathan Reekie has been made a CBE

Chief Executive Aldeburgh Music Jonathan Reekie has been made a CBE - Credit: Archant

Community heroes, an education leader and the man behind Aldeburgh Music are among the people from Suffolk honoured in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Jonathan Reekie took a break from the celebrations surrounding the centenary of composer Benjamin Britten’s birth to speak to the EADT yesterday after receiving a CBE for services to music.

The chief executive of Aldeburgh Music said he was delighted to have received the honour and paid tribute to his team.

The 48-year-old, who is currently co-ordinating his 16th Aldeburgh Festival, said: “It was a total surprise. There are really far more people who deserve it more than me. The timing – right in the middle of the festival – is very nice. It’s not just for me. It’s for everyone involved.”

Also honoured with a CBE is John Farmer, from Knodishall, near Saxmundham, former national chairman of the Royal British Legion. He is recognised for voluntary service to ex-servicemen and women.


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The 73-year-old’s term as chairman ended earlier this year, along with his 10 year spell as a trustee, but he said he would be remaining a member, while finding more time to do some gardening.

He said: “It’s absolutely amazing news. I’m honoured and it’s not all down to me - it’s the people I have worked with and the members and staff of the Royal British Legion.”

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Councillor Paul Farmer, from Bury St Edmunds, has been awarded an MBE for services to the community in Suffolk.

He represents Abbeygate ward on St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Bury St Edmunds Town Council, and has formerly been a Suffolk County Councillor and a cabinet member on the borough council.

Mr Farmer, 63, who has been a councillor since 2003, said: “I’m amazed but delighted, and very grateful to those who put my name forward. It is a privilege to serve as a local councillor, but to receive an honour for doing so is far more of a reward than I ever expected – or probably deserve.”

Mr Farmer, who has raised money for the Parkinson’s UK charity, has cut back on his council work in recent years due to health issues.

Anton Woodward, from Barningham, has received an OBE for services to stage automation.

The 48-year-old, who has his own company, AVW Controls Ltd, explained the work involves moving mostly scenery and rigging equipment in theatres, but also for the television and film industries or touring bands. The father-of-three said he was “a bit surprised” at receiving an OBE.

“I do a reasonable amount of stuff that’s not, if you like, part of the day job so I guess that’s probably got a lot to do with it,” he said.

He said he was in the Armed Forces, based at RAF Wattisham, but his career path changed when he answered an ad for an electronics engineer and started his own business in 1996.

Alan Gordon-Stables, a governor at West Suffolk College, has been awarded an MBE for services to further education.

East Anglian Air Ambulance chairman Andrew Egerton-Smith was awarded an MBE. He has been a driving force in the development, progress and innovation of the charity since its formation in 2000.

Tim Page, chief executive of EAAA, said: “We are thrilled that Andrew’s tremendous dedication has been recognised in this way. His steely determination and undoubted abilities, energy and enthusiasm for helping people remains as strong as ever.”

A woman who has been helping families for almost 25 years said she was “amazed” to be made an MBE.

Karen Harvey, from South Elmham, and leader of Greenacre and Great Yarmouth Children’s Centre, was recognised for services to children and families.

She said: “I was just amazed. When I opened the letter nobody was more surprised than me. It was totally unexpected and overwhelming.”

Mrs Harvey, who is also director of children and families for Great Yarmouth Communities Trust, started working with the young women’s project in Yarmouth in 1989. She hailed John Holmes, Andrew Forest and all her colleagues, family and friends for their support over the years.

A familiar face around Thetford Forest was awarded a British Empire Medal. David Kingsnorth, from Weeting, is being honoured for services to forestry and the voluntary service through Suffolk Special Constabulary.

The community ranger for the Forestry Commission works with the Brandon Safer Neighbourhood Team to tackle crime around the forest.

The 54-year-old said: “It was very much a surprise. I had no idea and it just blew me away.” He was worked for the Forestry Commission for more than 25 years and been a ranger for the last seven years.

A Suffolk man instrumental in organising an effective UK response to the Libya crisis, will receive a KCMG for his work at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Simon Fraser, who was senior policy adviser to the Foreign Secretary, permanent under-secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth office and head of the Diplomatic Service, was born in Rushmere and attended Ipswich School.

The avid Ipswich Town fan said: “I’m very proud to receive this honour. It’s a privilege to lead such a great organisation.”

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