Essex citizens honoured by Queen

By Danny Flatt and David HughesTHE man who winds up clocks in Parliament, the chairman of a national charity and one of the UK's first television gardeners are among the Essex citizens honoured today in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

By Juliette Maxam, Danny Flatt and David Hughes

THE man who winds up clocks in Parliament, the chairman of a national charity and one of the UK's first television gardeners are among the Essex citizens honoured today in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The county's chief fire officer and a leading detective from Essex Police are also among the people to be rewarded for their services to society.

It is not every day the Prime Minister nominates you to receive an MBE for services rendered to horology - the science of time keeping - but Clive Osborne is one such man.

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The 80-year-old clock manufacturer, who lives in Holland-on-Sea and still works full-time has been awarded the MBE after Tony Blair wrote a letter congratulating his efforts in keeping the government's 200 antique clocks ticking to the same time as Big Ben since 1982.

Mr Osborne, who spends the rest of his week running the family business, AA Osborne & Son in Thorpe-le-Soken, is employed to make and install parts to some of the finest collection of clocks in the country.

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He said: "Unlike new digital clocks, the ones in Westminster have to be wound up. Every week I will go into the government departments and keep them ticking. It's then that I can get the chance to talk to the politicians, though they are all busy people.

"Despite what people may think about Tony Blair, we have had our little chats and he is a very nice man. I was very surprised to receive the award - it was like a bolt out of the blue."

However, the country's leaders are not the only people who have benefited from Mr Osborne's chronology expertise as the Queen has also required his services to repair clocks in Kensington Palace.

In addition, the clock manufacturer was used as an expert on the 90s BBC game show Going For a Song, which he felt was his "small claim to fame".

One of the country's first television gardeners, Peter Seabrook, has been awarded an MBE for services to horticulture and admitted: "I was a bit surprised, but delighted to get the letter."

Mr Seabrook, 69, from Chelmsford, has had a lifelong passion for gardening, getting his first job in a nursery before going to secondary school.

After leaving school, he worked at Cramphorns nursery before studying horticulture at Writtle College near Chelmsford.

During national service, Mr Seabrook was a clerk with the Guards in Whitehall, but the Army paid for him to go to evening classes in floristry.

He went back to work at Cramphorns, leaving in 1966 as trials ground manager and nursery director. A writer and broadcaster on horticulture, Mr Seabrook has been The Sun's gardening editor since 1977 and presented the BBC's Gardeners' World from 1976 to 1979.

Sarah Phillips, 62, from Coggeshall, receives an OBE for services to disabled people. She has been chairman of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the past seven years and is also the president of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation.

She has suffered from the disease for more than 40 years and said: "I am over the moon about the reward. I first started as a volunteer on the local branch of the society in Colchester before I became the board chairman 13 years ago.

"I am very proud to be involved in the society, which has seen the number of specialised MS nurses rise from virtually none to 200. We have also started ground-breaking research, along with Canada and America, in myelin repair - the coating that protects the nerves."

"I will use the OBE to give the society the kudos it needs to carry on the essential work it has already been doing. It is not just the individuals who are affected by MS, but family and friends and it is important that we should remember that."

David Turner, Chief Fire Officer of Essex fire brigade, has been awarded an OBE for his work in the service.

"It was a complete surprise to receive the letter from the Lord Chancellor's office," he said, adding

it reflected the work of the service's employees as a whole.

Community fire safety is close to Mr Turner's heart and he said the huge increase in activity in this area of the service, as well as youth schemes, gave him enormous personal satisfaction.

Mr Turner, 53, joined London Fire Brigade in 1970, transferring to Essex in 1989. In 1991 he became assistant chief, then deputy chief in 1993, before taking up the chief fire officer's role in 1997. He is also a director on the guiding board of the Chief Fire Officers' Association.

A keen sportsman, Mr Turner has played football for Brentwood Town for 20 years as well as representing the England Fire Brigades side at international level.

Chief Superintendent Win Bernard, 50, the Chelmsford divisional commander, has been awarded the Queen's Police Medal for outstanding service to Essex Police.

Married with three children, Chief Supt Bernard joined the force in 1978 and has worked in Special Branch, CID and the Braintree drug and fraud squad.

He is notably remembered for his key role in negotiations involving two aeroplane hijack showdowns in 1996 and 2000 at Stansted Airport.

"There are a lot of people out there whose hard sterling work have gone unrecognised, but I am honoured and very proud to receive the Queen's Police Medal," said Chief Supt Bernard.

Anti-Stansted Airport campaigner Norman Mead has been awarded an MBE for services to the community in Essex and Hertfordshire.

Since 1986 Mr Mead has been general secretary of the North-West Essex and East Herts Preservation Association and is deputy chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, having been chairman from 2002 to 2004. The two bodies are dedicated to containing and preventing the impact of expansion at Stansted Airport.

Mr Mead, who is also a member of Great Hallingbury Parish Council, said he was honoured to accept the award on behalf of everyone who had helped in the work, describing them as "an incredible bunch of people".

Born in 1927 in Buckinghamshire, Mr Mead worked in the railway and chemical industries until his retirement in 1986, spending three years in the Royal Engineers from 1945 to 1948.

A paratrooper who has given "outstanding operational service in five different theatres" has been made an MBE.

Warrant Officer Class 2 Richard Newell, is a member of The Pathfinder Platoon, the advance force unit for 16 Air Assault Brigade, based in Colchester, in effect the brigade's eyes and ears on operations.

In the past six years, WO2 Newell has seen action in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Macedonia, Afghanistan and Iraq, often operating behind enemy lines.

WO2 Newell, 39, who lives near Ipswich, is married to Sarah and has been a "devoted father" to their son Jack, five, who has autism and has helped out with local autism charities.

He said: "I'm very chuffed that I got it. I do feel quite humbled and I do want people to know it's not just me, I was just one of several soldiers involved."

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