York heroes mingle with stars on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List

The Queen has dished out more than 1,100 honours this birthday. Photograph © The British Monarchy on Flickr
16 Jun 2017 @ 10.30 pm
| News

Campaigners, educationalists and volunteers have been rewarded for many years of selfless work to the community in York.

They are among the 1,109 people to receive an award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced tonight (Friday June 16).

Nationally, famous faces and sports people are honoured including

Billy Connolly – knighthood
Julie Walters – damehood
JK Rowling – companion of honour
Ed Sheeran – MBE
Sir Paul McCartney – companion of honour
Delia Smith – companion of honour
June Whitfield – damehood
Judy Murray – OBE
Raymond Briggs – CBE
Sarah Lancashire – OBE
John Conteh – MBE
Sir Terence Conran – companion of honour
Arise, Sir Big Yin! Billy Connolly gets a knighthood. Photograph: Danny Lawson / PA

Bravery awards

In a break with tradition, the Queen’s Civilian Gallantry List has been released at the same time as the monarch’s birthday honours.

PC Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death by attacker Khalid Masood in March on the forecourt of the Houses of Parliament, is posthumously awarded the George Medal for confronting an armed terrorist.

Bernard Kenny, who was stabbed in the abdomen as he tried to stop neo-Nazi Thomas Mair attacking MP Jo Cox outside her constituency surgery in Yorkshire, receives the George Medal one year on from the murder.

Two West Yorkshire Police officers, PC Craig Nicholls and PC Jonathan Wright, who arrested Mair are awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.

York heroes

Sue Lister

Sue said she received the letter telling her she was getting the MBE in early May.

“I thought, ‘blow me down! What a carry on! Who on earth has gone to all the trouble to put my name forward?’

“And I don’t know who it is.”

Sue receives the award for “services to Equality, Diversity and the Arts in Yorkshire”.

She has been coordinating York International Women’s Week for nine years, and doing the same for the York 50+ Festival for 12 years.

Sue is also on the York LGBT Forum committee since it started in 2006. More recently she created Free To Be Me, LGBT awareness training she takes into care homes and workplaces.

“It’s time to stop being afraid, and to say, ‘here I am, now deal with me’.”

She has founded a York branch of Ageing Without Children (AWOC), an organisation for “all the AWOCs who are going to be ageing, lonely and isolated in their own homes”.

The Real People Theatre Company, which Sue runs, has had a show during International Women’s Week for 18 years. It dramatises social issues including homelessness, domestic abuse, dementia.

She said: “The world could be a better place. I think human beings are not doing a good job.

“Not having any children, not having that kind of responsibility, means I can then be responsible and responsive to all the other issues in the world.”

What does the honour mean? “I’m very grateful that somebody’s noticed.

“I couldn’t have done all this if I hadn’t had the support of my partner, Ann Murray, who I met in Vancouver in 1986. We’ve had a fabulous 31 years together.”

Kevin Clancy

Staff and students are delighted for Kevin, former head of construction at York College, who has been awarded an MBE “for services to Further Education”.

In a career spanning 35 years, Kevin initially worked as a joiner. His passion for construction crafts, and overseeing the education and training of thousands of individuals, allowed him to work closely with employers to ensure students learn the right skills to match employer need.

Kevin’s construction division played a key part in the college’s outstanding Ofsted inspection (December 2013), with success rates consistently well above national average.

His students made an outstanding contribution to the local community through projects including creating a stone sculpture for Prince Charles, building the cart used by a guild in the Mystery Plays, and renovating hostels for the homeless.

The whole college joins me in congratulating Kevin on his MBE, which is so well deserved.

His support for staff, students, apprentices and local employers was unstinting during his time at York College.

Kevin also cared very much about high standards of training and craftsmanship and was the driving force behind our new Construction Centre last year, from which will come the highly skilled construction workforce of the future.

– York College principal Dr Alison Birkinshaw

Marie Taylor

Marie Taylor, who is the area standard bearer for the York area of the Royal Naval Association (RNA), receives a British Empire Medal “for services to Veterans and the community in York”.

When she received the letter “I was quite gobsmacked,” Marie told YorkMix.

She said it has been hard to keep a secret. “Funnily enough over the past few weeks people have said to me, ‘I’m surprised you haven’t got any awards for what you do’ – and I’m sort of going, ‘um…'”

Marie, 64, was in the Women’s Royal Naval Service for 14 years.

She’s been on the committee of the York branch of the RNA for several years, and has been area standard bearer for a decade. She said:

I go all over the place, because the area goes from the bottom of Scotland down to the Humber and across to the Pennines.

The standard is fairly heavy, but once you get used to doing it, it becomes easier. If the wind takes it, it can cause problems.

Marie is also chairman of the York branch of the Association of Wrens, and is treasurer of the Royal Marines Association, and on the committee of the Royal British Legion locally.

How does she feel about receiving the honour? “It’s just phenomenal. You think it will happen to somebody else and not to you.”

She will be presented with her medal by the Lord Lieutenant, and then goes to a celebratory garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Jonathan Taylor

The former head teacher of Bootham School receives an MBE “for services to the York Independent State School Partnership”.

Jonathan Taylor set up the partnership in 2006, said he was “delighted, proud and humbled” to receive the award.

“The fact that the York ISSP is still thriving, and expanding its range of activities is testimony to the energy, creativity and professionalism of so many colleagues across the city.

“It is no surprise to me that teachers from across all sectors, given responsibility, and freedom, can develop innovative and adventurous programmes of education for the benefit of the local community.”

The current head, Chris Jeffery, paid tribute to his predecessor:

He influenced the lives of thousands of children (and teachers) across York by lighting the touch paper for the ISSP and he ensured that Bootham held the higher purposes of education dear, always pushing for radical spirit of enquiry.

Detective Inspector Karen Warner

Two North Yorkshire police officers receive awards.

Detective Inspector Karen Warner will receive the Queen’s Policing Medal for distinguished service. Over nearly 30 years, Karen has devoted her career to safeguarding children and adults who have been victims of child abuse, neglect, serious sexual crimes and domestic abuse.

She is also a trained negotiator, and has worked as a Family Liaison Officer and Coordinator – a role which saw her work with families affected by many of the region’s highest profile criminal cases and disaster incidents.

“As an officer, I often meet people at the worst possible time, and the fact that they have allowed me into their lives to work with them in such difficult circumstances has always been a privilege,” Karen said, adding:

I’m really humbled by this award, which is as much for my family and colleagues as it is for me.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with dedicated colleagues within the police and other agencies, and I’m so lucky to have the support of my children and my family. Without their support I would have been unable to do what I do.

Retired Police Constable Jonathan Rushton

Jonathan receives an MBE for services to policing, following a public nomination.

He left North Yorkshire Police in October 2016, after a career which saw him work in a wide range of policing roles, including as part of a specialist dive team, and as a lead PolSA (an expert in crime, missing person and counter terrorism people searches).

Jonathan received his citation for his work in coordinating and supporting volunteer search and rescue teams in the region, which he did for more than five years.

He said:

I am absolutely delighted. Search and rescue teams are unpaid volunteers, but they have a pivotal role to play in an investigation, so you need that bond of trust between the search teams and the police.

I’m proud that I helped to build that relationship in North Yorkshire.

Major General Ralph Wooddisse

One of York’s most senior soldiers is on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list too. Major General Ralph Wooddisse took command of 1st United Kingdom Division in Imphal Barracks, York last month.

He has been awarded the CBE, the citation commending his ability to shift focus between a wide range of global operations.

“Being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this week is unexpected and a huge privilege,” said Major General Wooddisse, 47, who is married and has three daughters.

1st UK Division is an adaptive force which also works with other countries’ troops both on exercises to strengthen Britain’s defence and by sending small military teams in a mentoring role with developing nations.

“The internationally-recognised work of the Divisional Headquarters in York enhances the reputation of both 1st UK Division and the city and I am pleased to take up the command here,” he said.

Lieutenant Colonel Hamish Cormack

A colonel who led his battalion when it was tackling York’s severe floods in 2015 has been awarded an OBE.

Lieutenant Colonel Hamish Cormack commanded the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment as the 500 soldiers responded to the severe flooding in the city, and elsewhere in the North of England.

His citation commends the “incomparable strides” he made in developing the relationships between the military and regional communities.

“The floods were an incredibly tough time for all concerned,” said Lt Col Cormack.

“The emergency services and local authorities worked tirelessly in a challenging situation to help those people affected and we were pleased to be able to support them.”