Unsung heroes and community stalwarts recognised in New Year Honours
A pioneering surgeon who has received a damehood leads the list of Suffolk community stalwarts and unsung heroes in the New Year Honours.
Ipswich Hospital orthopaedic surgeon, Clare Marx, the first woman to hold the position of president of the Royal College of Surgeons, expressed her delight after being appointed a dame.
Twelve people from Suffolk have made the list for their professional achievements or volunteer work to help make Britain a better place to live, up slightly from 11 last year. See the national story here as Ringo Starr is knighted.
Miss Marx, who will accept the honour for services to surgery in the NHS, worked as an orthopaedic surgeon in London before she moved up to Suffolk to work at Ipswich Hospital 25 years ago.
In July 2014 she was appointed president of the Royal College of Surgeons, a role she held until July.
“It was fascinating because it is a national professional role,” she said.
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“It brought me into contact with all the national bodies and politicians and gave us an opportunity to champion patients and people undergoing surgery.
“Being part of an extraordinary team at Ipswich has been an amazing part of my career. We don’t know how lucky we are to have such a fantastic hospital. “I was really delighted, a little surprised and a bit overwhelmed when I found out about the honour.”
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Lavenham-born Stephen Howlett has been made a CBE in recognition of his 42-year career in housing, which included 13 years as boss of the Peabody Trust. He has grown London’s oldest housing association into one of the capital’s largest developers of new homes.
He said: “I am hugely honoured. A poor background should not be a barrier to success and prosperity and I’ll continue working to help create opportunities for people to achieve their aspirations.”
Carol Garrett, team leader for ports and borders at Trading Standards, hosted by Suffolk Trading Standards, has been awarded an OBE for services to business. Mrs Garrett, 64, of Woodbridge, has helped detect unsafe products at the border, including thousands of dangerous hoverboards. It led to worldwide recognition and Mrs Garrett giving hoverboard safety advice to the Danish and Jamaican governments.
She said: “It’s quite humbling. I would also like to thank the team too who must also be recognised.”
Richard Carter, who spent 16 years on the governing body at West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds, six of them as chair before retiring this summer, has been made an MBE for his services to education.
He said: “I am honoured. The college has been blessed with excellent principals. It is a modern, thriving college and one of the best-performing in the country. Theresa May praised its work in Parliament last year. It is a very exciting place to be.”
James Lyon, 62, of Norton, near Bury St Edmunds, a forest management director at the Forestry Commission, has been made an MBE for services to forestry and conservation.
He retired this summer after 42 years of working for the Forestry Commission, including the last 18 years in the South East, which covers 36,000 hectares.
He said: “I am absolutely thrilled. For me, it’s about striking the right balance, which is difficult, between people and the environment. Thetford Forest is 20,000 hectares in size and the Friends of Thetford Forest are a wonderful group of people.”
Diana Porter, the founder of child sexual abuse charity Fresh Start - New Beginnings has been made an MBE. More than 960 children and their families has been supported since the charity was established in 2012.
Mrs Porter said: “This is for all the hard work that we have put in. The children and parents we have worked with are the remarkable ones, as well as the supporters who donate money and time.”
Alison Wheeler, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, has been made an MBE for her contribution to the county’s library service. She took on the role in 2012 when the service was transferred from the county council. All 44 branches were saved.
She said: “I am thrilled to be honoured in this way, and regard this as a well-earned compliment to all the people I’ve worked with.”
Carol Lukins, of Ipswich, has also been awarded an MBE, for services to HM Coastguard and the prison service. She has volunteered with the Felixstowe Coastguard Rescue team, worked with Suffolk police by supporting young offenders, been a member of the Royal Navy Auxiliary Service, and has helped tens of thousands of children, nationally and worldwide, to get fit.
Lorraine Bliss, 65, of Dereham, Norfolk, who has spent nearly 30 years working with disadvantaged young people in Norfolk and Suffolk, and who has fostered children for 13 years, has been made an MBE. She said: “I feel very privileged and humbled. It was a wonderful surprise.”
Meanwhile, Alison Evans, of Beccles, has been awarded a BEM for her services to the community. Church expert Roy Tricker, of Ipswich, was also awarded a BEM for his services to heritage in Suffolk.
James Manning, 63, one of the founders of the Whitton Youth Partnership in Ipswich, also received a BEM.
He said: “I am humbled and very grateful. All the volunteers I’ve worked with must all share in the award.”