Unsung heroes on New Years honours list

OUTSTANDING individuals who have worked tirelessly for their communities and excelled in their work have been recognised in the Queen's New Year honours list, released today.

Lizzie Parry

OUTSTANDING individuals who have worked tirelessly for their communities and excelled in their work have been recognised in the Queen's New Year honours list, released today.

Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton crowned an incredible year of success with an MBE. The gold medallist, who used to compete for Mildenhall Cycling Club where she is still an honorary member, was among many sporting winners from the Beijing Olympics who were honoured.

Pendleton, whose father Max still rides for the west Suffolk club, was part of a hugely successful British cycling team that picked up 13 medals including eight golds.

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Meanwhile, a widower who turned to writing to help him overcome the loss of his beloved wife to cancer has earned a MBE after his books raised more than £115,000 for local charities.

Eric Vanlint , 81, from Brettenham, near Stowmarket, was given the honour for services to literature and to charity in Suffolk.

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Two years ago, Mr Valint published a moving book of poetry, entitled True Love is Always, to help others coming to terms will illness and bereavement after his wife, Dorie , died of cancer.

Speaking about the honour, he said: “Writing books is my reason for still living. It is always pleasing to have something like this which gives you recognition. My main aim is to raise money for charity and any publicity from that point of view is good. I don't go looking for things like this - it is just a nice thing to happen.”

Marguerite 'Peg' Davies has been awarded an MBE for voluntary service to the community in Aldeburgh.

The 85-year-old said she was “overjoyed” at the news but did not expect the accolade.

“I was stunned, I did not have a clue. I heard in mid-November but had to keep it a secret, it was very difficult,” she said. “I have got no idea who nominated me.”

The great-grandmother, who moved to Aldeburgh from London in January 1978, said the news had taken a while to sink in.

For years Mrs Davies has been a key part of her local community running various clubs and helping those in need.

She added: “There are two things I am most proud of, firstly serving for 12 years as a town councillor and my two stints as mayor, from 1995 to 1996 and then from 1999 to 2000.

“And secondly I was instrumental in helping to raise money for the community centre, from organising shows to car boot sales and jumble sales.

“There are all sorts of things I do and have done over the years, I helped with meals on wheels for 20 years, and I am hoping to start a Scrabble club soon.”

A businessman and chairman of one of Suffolk's best known companies has received an OBE for his services to corporate social responsibility.

Jonathan Adnams, executive chairman of brewers Adnams, said: “I am delighted to accept this honour as a public acknowledgement of what Adnams has achieved over the years.

“Wherever possible, our aim is to make long-term decisions that are good for our business, employees, our community and the environment.

“Adnams has been brewing beer in Southwold since 1872 and I firmly believe that our approach to sustainable business and commitment to doing the right thing will keep us here for many years to come.”

Mr Adnams joined the company in 1973 as a brewery engineer apprentice and has since worked in all aspects of the business.

He joined the Adnams board in 1988 running pubs and property then taking on the role of managing director in 1997. He became chairman in August 2006.

Mr Adnams' passion for the East Anglian coast led him to become a member of Southwold's lifeboat crew, where he served 28 years, 15 of those spent as senior helmsman.

Leslie Dawson, from the Lowestoft area, was also awarded an OBE recognising his services to the Energy and Water Industries.

Monique Barnes, 78, of Bury St Edmunds, was awarded an MBE for voluntary services to the community.

Mrs Barnes, who is French by birth but has lived in Suffolk for 40 years, worked as a psychiatric nurse but has spent four days a week since retirement helping the elderly and infirm through the Bury St Edmunds Volunteer Centre.

Describing the moment she learned of her MBE, Mrs Barnes said: “They nearly killed an old woman from shock - I could not believe it. At first I wondered what they had done to me but then I started to think that a lot of people had gone to a lot of trouble on this.

“I enjoy volunteering and I should thank the people who nominated me because they give me so much pleasure - they make me feel useful. I wish more people would volunteer - it would give them a good feeling.”

Alan Swerdlow, 70, from Woodbridge, was awarded an MBE for services to the arts and to the communities in Liverpool and Suffolk.

He said yesterday: “I was just very pleased and very honoured. If I were not involved in the various organisations I would not have been acknowledged in this way. I have always been involved in committees and charity work.

“I do it because I think the projects I work on are very worthwhile.”

Originally from Liverpool, Mr Swerdlow moved to Woodbridge after spending years visiting the area for the Aldeburgh Festival.

“Suffolk was the main place I used to come to on holiday, the music was a big part of why we moved here.

“This year will be the 40th year I will be at the Aldeburgh Festival; I used to come over from Liverpool and I was a member of the board of Aldeburgh music.”

Mr Swerdlow is still involved with Gainsborough's House in Sudbury working on the committee and with the directors on the programme of exhibitions.

He recently got involved with the British Association of Friends of Museums working as the coordinator for the six eastern counties.

Meanwhile, a television producer who began her career as a journalist at the East Anglian Daily Times has been awarded an OBE for services to broadcast journalism.

Boni Sones, who grew up in Sizewell, worked at the EADT from 1978 to 1985 as the woman's page editor and the feature editor before moving on to work as education and political editor with the BBC.

Speaking about her accolade she said: “I am incredibly pleased - journalism is a tough career but the values given to me at the EADT have kept me grounded, made people trust me as a journalist and allowed me to keep going.”

Annabel Oxley, from the Newmarket area, was awarded an MBE for voluntary service to injured jockeys.

Community fundraiser Barry Donovan, from Colchester, has also been awarded an MBE.

Mr Donovan, 67 is a former banker who ended his career with a four-year spell at the Natwest branch in Sudbury.

Now he is the treasurer for seven Essex charities and is involved in raising cash for a range of charities for the Rotary Club, including the Fantasy Charity Fund and CLIC Sargent.

Mr Donavan said he and his wife Margaret, who live together in Rudd Court, were thrilled by the news.

He said: “We're absolutely delighted. It came as a total surprise to me. I think I know who put me forward but I haven't spoken to them yet.”

Through his work with the Fantasy Charity Fund, Mr Donovan has helped raise about £350,000 over the past decade that has helped families take their sick children on dream holidays, working with nine hospices in Essex.

Mr Donovan is also involved in his local Scout group and is a member of Save Jumbo, a campaign group working to protect Colchester's iconic Victorian water tower.

Others in Essex who are celebrating are Mike Norgrove, from Coggeshall, who is the director of Excise, Stamps and Money Business at HM Revenue and Customs, who was awarded a CBE.

Stephen Rodford, of Chelmsford, a senior manager at Whitemoor Prison in Cambridgeshire, has been recognised with an OBE.

Avril O'Sullivan, from Frinton, has been awarded an MBE for voluntary service to people with learning disabilities in Essex.

James Juffs, from Essex, is the chief operating officer in the debt management office at the Treasury and awarded a CBE for his public and voluntary service.

And Professor Deborah Ashby, from Essex, who is a professor of medical statistics and clinical trials at Imperial College, London was also granted an OBE for her services to medicine.

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