Essex stalwarts honoured by the Queen

COMMUNITY stalwarts and high-achievers from Essex have spoken at their delight in being included in the Queen's New Year Honours List.

A PENSIONER has told how he broke down in tears after opening the letter which revealed he had been included in the Queen's New Year Honours List.

Charles Rand has been awarded the MBE for his services to sport in Essex after being involved in football in the county for 60 years.

Mr Rand, of Kennet Way, Chelmsford, is the patron of Essex Olympian Football League but has been involved in football since the age of 15 when he played for a side from the Essex Technical College.

Since then the father-of-two has either played or been involved in the administration side of the game as well as becoming a class one referee and being Essex Olympian Football League vice chairman for 22 years.


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He said: “I was finishing my breakfast and doing the crossword as usual on November 16 and my wife got the post.

“She came in and said 'I think you ought to read this letter.'

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“I absolutely couldn't believe it and when I saw it was from Downing Street I wondered what I had done.

“Tears were flowing down my cheeks and I have been overwhelmed ever since.”

The retired Marconi engineer said he felt the honour was not just for him but for all the volunteers he had worked with in the footballing world.

He also paid tribute to his wife of 55 years, Betty, for supporting his love of football despite not being a fan of the game herself.

Mr Rand will collect his award sometime in the next few months with his wife alongside him and added that he hoped their daughters, Denise Jakeman and Linda Lord, would also join them on the special occasion.

Also honoured was Peter Cheng, nurse and clinical risk manager for North Essex Mental Health Partnership, who was awarded the MBE.

The 62-year-old said he was “very happy” to have been nominated - although he did not know who by - and was looking forward to his trip to be presented with the award.

Mr Cheng, of Highwoods, Colchester, has worked for the NHS in Essex for 43 years and retired before returning to work part-time as the person in charge of clinical practice and training.

Mr Cheng said: “I am thrilled to be nominated. I feel immensely privileged to have been able to play a small part in the modernisation of mental health services during my 43 years in the NHS.

“However, I could not have achieved a thing on my own.

“I am so proud to have worked alongside many dedicated colleagues. I thank them all for their support and encouragement.

“It is only by working together that we can ensure that the very highest standards of care and support are available when needed.”

Paul Keedwell, director of nursing at the trust, said: “Peter's contribution to mental health services in Essex has been outstanding.

“His dedication, enthusiasm and energy have helped shape the excellent services that are available today.

“I am immensely proud and pleased that his career has been recognised with this award.

“This is a real celebration of his service to the development of mental health nursing, to which he continues to be dedicated.”

Dr John Ashworth, of Wivenhoe, has been honoured with a Knighthood for public service.

He has held a number of high-profile roles in science and education throughout his career and worked as under-secretary to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

He said one of his proudest moments came as chairman of the British Library board when the British Library was opened in Euston Road, London, by the Queen.

The 69-year-old said he was delighted to be given the honour.

“The letter came through in November and that came as a surprise and of course it was embargoed for all these weeks and I felt slightly awkward.

“The problem with being a jack of all trades is that I fall between the steps, so I think that is why it is for public service.”

Mr Ashworth was the founding professor of biology at Essex University in 1974.

He is married to Auriol Stevens, who is a pre-chancellor at the university, and the couple live in Wivenhoe, near Colchester.

Jonathan Douglas-Hughes received an OBE for services to young people.

He is the chairman of the Essex Association of Boys' Clubs which works with about 6,000 youngsters throughout the county.

He told the EADT that he felt humbled to be given the honour and revealed he would be following in the footsteps of his father, Douglas, who was also given an OBE for services to the magistracy internationally.

He said: “It is quite an honour, I got the letter through and it is confidential so I had not said anything to anybody but now my family know and they are very pleased for me.”

Mr Douglas-Hughes, who lives in Gestingthorpe, joined the committee of the boys' clubs nearly 20 years ago and has been chairman for the past 17 years, during which time it has expanded across the county and even opened an adventure centre in south Essex offering sailing, climbing, archery and even under-ground tunnelling and has the capacity for up to 2,000 children per day.

The clubs run the Respect project which takes disenchanted youngsters on a course designed to give them self respect.

He said his role was to make sure there was enough money and people for the clubs to run properly and put youngsters onto courses to enable them to become trainers themselves.

Terry Hanfin, the former chief executive of the now disbanded Essex Strategic Health Authority, received a CBE for services to the NHS. He now works for the Department of Health.

Caroline Benbrook, of Braintree, a senior officer for HM Revenue and Customs, was given the MBE as was Austen Dixon, of Colchester for service to East Anglian coastal defences.

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