Do you want to find out how the honours system works and how the Independent Honours Committee members decide who does and does not get awarded? Do you know someone deserving of an honour who works in the science, technology or research community?
The Cabinet Office and Government Office for Science will be hosting a free in person and online honours event on the 12th September from 11:15am – 12pm. Join this unique panel event which will feature both independent honours committee members and recent honours recipients, who will share their insights into how the honours system works and how we can nominate more outstanding people in the science, technology and research community for these prestigious awards.
Confirmed speakers so far include:
Dame Angela Mclean, Government Chief Scientific Advisor and member of the Science, Research and Technology Honours Committee
Stephen Kelly, Chair of the Science, Technology and Research Honours Committee
Dame Sue Ion, Chairman of the UK Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board
Professor Dhiya Al-Jumeily OBE, Professor of Artificial Intelligence and President of eSystems Engineering Society.
This event is open to the public – so please help us spread the word to anyone you know in the North of England and/or in the Science, Technology or Research community.
In a ceremony at The Monastery, Manchester, on the 4th July 2023, 8 Honour’s Recipients received their medals from The Lord-Lieutenant. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant and all the recipients’ home town Mayors were also in attendance to help and to congratulate them all.
There were 7 recipients of the British Empire Medal and also a recipient of an MBE who attended with friends and family to celebrate their fantastic achievements in the wonderful setting of the Great Nave at The Monastery.
A choir from the Co-op Academy Manchester also sang before and after the ceremony and lead everyone singing the National Anthem.
The recipients and their guests from across Greater Manchester listened to the citations which were read out by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant and broke into applause as each of the stories were revealed and each walked forward to receive their medals from the Lord-Lieutenant.
The recipients and their stories are as follows:
Christopher Paul Ashworth BEM (Tameside)
Chris is the Estates Manager at Ashton Sixth Form College. He was pivotal in ensuring that the college staff were safe, and that the college was a healthy place to return to work after the Covid Pandemic lockdowns, during which he was on site every day making sure that everywhere was secure.
Once decisions were made about the return to work, he single-handedly sourced the required PPE and cleaning equipment, and worked tirelessly with one other member of his team to make the necessary changes to classrooms including removing furniture and reconfiguring classroom layouts to meet COVID requirements and installing Perspex screens. He even took deliveries at home whilst the college was shut. Chris also organised and completed a one-way system for the college and worked across jobs which were not in his area. He turned his hand to reprographics, printing posters for the return and he took time to learn how to don and doff PPE correctly and then trained all the cleaning team and the first aiders, so they were comfortable in its use. He did all of this with his customary cheerfulness.
In addition, Chris supported the NHS and local people. His wife is a staff nurse at Tameside Hospital, and he helped support their work by providing PPE and helped elderly residents with shopping and errands. He did all of this in addition to his day job, with most of his team either shielding or unable to come in as they were vulnerable or furloughed.
In other times, Chris single-handedly saved the college hundreds of thousands of pounds through the renegotiation of contracts, all of which could then be spent on teaching and learning.
Chris is a long-standing member of the college team and is the sort of person every organisation needs. He is hard-working, caring, innovative and can rise to any challenge.
Martyn James Davies BEM (Salford)
Since completing his training Martyn has been driven to improve the lives of people living in care homes, making it another fulfilling chapter of a person’s life.
He bought Urmston Manor at a point when it was rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission but within a year had transformed it into an ‘outstanding’ rated home. Martyn focusses on ensuring that the residents are having the best quality of life and feel part of the community.
In each room he makes sure that there is a television showing a personalised photograph slide show. For the dementia residents, their memories are so important, and they really enjoy talking to the care home staff about their very fond memories from the pictures. In addition, each resident has a voice-activated device which will switch their lights on and off and play their own individual music playlists.
His home supports the Manchester Mad Dogs Project, a charity providing meals for the homeless of Manchester. The residents join the care home staff in peeling vegetables and sometimes help deliver meals to homeless people helping the residents to feel a valued part of the wider community. Urmston Manor was also the first in Trafford to link in with a local school where residents meet with the school children removing generational boundaries.
During the pandemic he moved into the home and at the start of the Christmas pandemic lockdown, he bought bird houses for the residents to paint and then put them outside the home for passers-by to take and put up in their gardens.
Martyn also supports Skills for Care in their training plans by supporting the design of training for care home staff to develop in their roles. He set up a local WhatsApp group with all the care home managers to share information about training.
At a time when we have never needed our Adult Social Care nursing teams more, Martyn’s work and leadership have been a beacon in the sector.
Winifred Mary Dignan MBE (Rochdale)
Wyn has been a Non-Executive Director in the NHS for over twenty years. She has chaired NHS Boards at North Manchester Primary Care Trust, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust and North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Wyn’s commitment to the NHS has been exemplary and consistently demonstrated throughout her long and dedicated service as a Chair, by creating an ethos of accountability, openness, integrity and compassion.
Wyn has strived to deliver the very best quality of service to patients and their families, and to put them at the heart of service provision with the key priority being the delivery of high quality, safe services and the best possible patient experience.
Consequently, over the years she has chaired Boards and spent significant time visiting and experiencing front line service provision from both patient and staff perspectives. This further evidences her commitment to establishing a listening and learning culture. Wyn deliberately chooses not to have an office so she can be mobile and visible in her leadership across the Trust and completely engage with Board, clinicians, managers and staff across the NHS organisations, in addition to patients and other key stakeholders.
Wyn has worked passionately and selflessly to motivate staff to make a difference and to improve the quality of services and performance in all the settings she has worked. This involved going the extra mile and investing more hours than is expected of the role. She has spent time on mental health wards on night shifts and with paramedic and patient transport crews. Wyn has met with staff, patients and relatives in times of trauma, loss, anger and distress, and is so inspirational in how empathetic and supportive she always has been in the many occasions there have been over her time in the National Health Service.
Wyn is an excellent role model and much admired and respected.
John (Jack) Patrick Holt BEM (Bolton)
Jack has made an incredible contribution to Bolton Olympic Wrestling Club, volunteering there for over 50 years as a committee member and Chair.
In addition to his visible presence, working on the front desk, most of his selfless contribution is ‘behind the scenes’. Through his resourcefulness and determination, he ensures the club’s building is always well maintained and ready to welcome the diverse range of people who use the club’s facilities. Alongside his own time and labour, he uses his initiative and doggedness to source funding and assistance from local businesses and other tradesmen as well as members to keep the club going. The club is based in a deprived area, but admission prices are amazingly low. This is only possible because of his conscientious efforts and the diligent management of the club’s funds which ensures it remains accessible to all in the community. Jack’s effective running of the club also helps some youngsters to travel to international competitions, ensuring that regardless of means or background, any young talented wrestler can represent their country.
Jack is a real ambassador of the sport and the spirit of wrestling and community. His dedication has kept the club going through good times and bad, surviving recessions and keeping the strong sense of community alive. This is not the only voluntary work which Jack is involved in. For many years, he has carried out building work and maintenance at his local parish churches. Jack has assisted a succession of priests at St Osmund’s and St Andrew’s for over 30 years, even planning out and implementing the re-building of a bar area in St Osmund’s Parish Hall at the age of 79. His zeal for using his skills to help others is boundless.
A Lifetime Fellowship Award winner: Jack is the beating heart of the Club and an unsung hero of Olympic Free Wrestling.
Liam Manton BEM (Manchester) and Mark Smallwood BEM (Trafford)
(Mark was unable to attend on the day)
Liam and Mark are co-founders of Didsbury Gin, a commercial gin distiller. At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK they recognised that there was a need for the company to do its part, especially here in Greater Manchester which was one of the hardest hit areas of the country.
In March 2020, Didsbury Gin was one of the first of many businesses across the country to adapt by converting its production to meet a national need in combatting the coronavirus. In their case, by producing hand sanitiser. In the space of just seven days, they produced two million bottles of hand sanitiser which were then distributed to front-line service providers and key workers in the Greater Manchester area including police, adult social care, GP surgeries and local public transport. In April, during the period of national shortages in this area, they procured and donated 35,000 items of PPE to Manchester Social Care. In addition, Liam and Mark worked with the Manchester Bar Network to create job opportunities for those in the hospitality industry who were out of work because of the pandemic.
Liam and Mark are major local participant in the government Kickstart Scheme which is designed to generate good paying job opportunities for young people aged 16-24 who are at risk of unemployment.
They also work as part of the UK Spirits Alliance (UKSA) to highlight the importance of the spirits industry to the UK economy and have met regularly with ministers from HM Treasury to campaign for changes to the system of duties and tariffs on alcohol. The candidate’s work with the UKSA saw many new distilleries open, with the overall number of distilleries increasing from 190 in 2015 to 710 in 2020.
Liam and Mark are conscientious business owners, using their ability and responsibility to benefit the local community and help wider society.
Michael Anthony Newman BEM (Bury)
Born completely blind, Mike always had a passion for cars, so much so, it was his life’s ambition to become a racing driver. This ambition came with many challenges but he worked tirelessly to live his dream; he is now a nine times World Record Holder and is currently the fastest blind man on land and water on the planet. In 2012, Mike set up his charity, Speed of Sight (SOS), founded with the initial purpose of giving driving experiences to blind people who had been told they would never get the chance to get behind the wheel and drive.
SOS now empowers blind and disabled people to drive a car. He and his team travel to all corners of the country to enable people, some with with severe disabilities, to attend their track days. Mike meets participants after each event to gauge their reactions and gets huge satisfaction from hearing someone had the time of their lives.
Initially starting with one sports car, the charity now has four cars, which are used regularly throughout the racing season at circuits all over the UK. They are currently running twenty plus events yearly. Mike never forgot the support he has received throughout his life and named all the cars after his previous guide dogs with each car having its own identity, personality, strengths and role within the charity.
In addition, Mike is an inspirational speaker and promotes positive awareness around disability by speaking on television, encouraging people with sight impairments to do whatever they want to do. SOS also delivers a unique experience for sighted people to understand what driving without that sense is like by using blindfolds. This not only increases awareness of difficulties faced by disability but encourages essential team building skills, such as trust and communication.
Known in racing circles as “Super Human, Mike Newman”, he has made an extraordinary difference to the disabled community, making sure they know that being disabled does not mean that they are unable.
Peter Gordon Nicol BEM (Bury)
Peter has been an outstanding member of Bury College Governing Body since 2004, becoming Chair in 2008. He has inducted and mentored over twenty new Governors, creating an environment where they can constructively contribute and are comfortable challenging leaders. In addition, the college has maintained a strong financial position, which has enabled capital investments of over £50m, creating world-class facilities, whilst delivering outstanding value to the public purse.
Under Peter’s leadership the college has had fantastic results. Over 30% of students are from an ethnic minority background and this cohort are consistently placed among the best in the country. In 2019/20 they were in the top 10% for student progress in Advanced Level 3 courses, top 3% of Further Education Colleges for English progress, and top 6% for maths progress. His unrelenting pursuit of excellence has introduced the Positive Futures initiative which focuses on developing student’s key study, employability and transferable skills to support their progression with around 1,000 students successfully progressing to university and employment every year. To remove barriers, he ensures the college’s Higher Education course fees are among the lowest in the country. As a result, over half of the Higher Education learners come from areas of deprivation.
Peter fosters excellent relationships across the community including with Fisherfield Farm Nurseries and Play Football, securing specialist facilities for the college and helping widen participation. A recent Big Lottery project advocated by him helped support over 500 hard-to-reach residents and was recognised as 2018’s Festival of Learning National Project of the Year.
This commitment has seen the college create Bury College Education Trust in 2014 to support local schools. All primary schools in the Trust have improved their Ofsted rating. Peter also drove the college’s Covid-19 response, including staying open for vulnerable students, making thousands of phone calls and home visits to ensure students remain safe, implementing remote learning, adjustments to classrooms and timetables.
Peter is a shining example of educational leadership in action.
Alison Jean Peek BEM (Salford)
In March 2020 at the start of the pandemic, the National Federation of Women’s Institute were slow in helping its members struggling with the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whilst some W.I.s had their own websites or Facebook pages; they were not using them to properly interact with their members. In reaction to this, Alison, along with a member from Middlesex, formed the ‘W.I. Wanderers’, a national Facebook group which provided online events every day for members in the safety of their own homes. It quickly had over two and a half thousand members from across the UK.
Alison organised zoom calls, documentaries, exercise classes, art workshops and informative talks for ladies to combat loneliness and anxiety. Many of the women had not spoken to anyone for several days; these online sessions were a welcome relief and lifeline which created support and friendship. This work was alongside a paid job, but she still found the time and inclination to help other women who were struggling in these unprecedented times.
There were obstacles to overcome, with many older members not having the technical skills to use equipment or zoom, but she personally took time to hold one-to-one lessons to teach them, giving them access to wider resources away from the group. This has been a substantial initiative that has been a lifeline to so many and provided a sense of belonging in a time of being alone.
Following on from a virtual meeting with members from Canada, it became very clear to Alison that members do not always want to be entertained; they just want the opportunity to have human interaction. She was determined to continue to provide that service.
The group is hugely successful and now has over 8,000 members. The impact on this group has been enormous, with members being given confidence and self-belonging especially at a time when many could not leave their homes. This would not have been achievable without her commitment, energy and organisation.
The Lord-Lieutenant would like to congratulate all the Greater Manchester recipients of Honours in The King’s Birthday Honour’s List. Honours are a fantastic way of thanking ordinary people doing extraordinary things and this would not be possible without the people taking the time to nominate them, whom she would also like to particularly thank. Should you know of someone who deserves to be nominated then please go to our honours website where you can find out how to do it: http://www.gmhonours.org/. The Cabinet Office have also created a very informative website about the UK Honours System which can be found here: https://honours.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/
The people who live in Greater Manchester and have received an Honour in the Birthday List are as follows:
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
The Order of St Michael and St George was founded in 1818. It was originally bestowed solely upon those in high positions in the Mediterranean (Malta and the Ionian Islands) but now recognises service to the UK, overseas or internationally, or in relation to Foreign and Commonwealth affairs. This could be, for example, senior diplomats for exceptional service, outstanding contributions to major International Organisations and the Sovereign’s Representatives in Commonwealth Realms.
Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
A Companion of the Order recognises prominent and highly distinguished contributions overseas and in international affairs for example exceptional service in the senior international roles.
Geoffrey Charles KNUPFER A resident of Manchester. Lately Lead Forensic Scientist and Head of Investigation Team, Independent Commission for the Location of Victims’ Remains. For Public Service
Order of The British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V.
Officers of the Order of the British Empire
An OBE is given to someone who has demonstrated a distinguished regional or county-wide role in any field, through achievement or service to the community including notable practitioners known nationally. The following people have been awarded an OBE:
Jonathan Michael DUTTON A resident of Wigan. Chief Executive Officer, Rugby League World Cup. For services to Rugby
Suzanne Lisa GRIFFIN A resident of Bolton. Deputy Director, DWP Digital, Department for Work and Pensions. For Public Service
Graham QUINN A resident of Bury. Chief Executive Officer, New Bridge Multi Academy Trust, Oldham, For services to Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
Nicola Jayne SMITH a resident of Bolton. Governor, HM Prison Risley. For services to HM Prison and Probation Service
Members of the Order of the British Empire
An MBE is given to a person for achievement or service in and to the community which is outstanding in its field and has delivered sustained and real impact which stands out as an example to others. The following people have been awarded the MBE:
Deborah Jayne BLACKBURN A resident of Stockport. Assistant Principal, Finance, Aquinas College, Stockport, Greater Manchester. For services to Further Education
Professor Frank BOWLING A resident of Bolton. Professor of Translational and Experimental Medicine; Departments of Diabetes and Vascular Surgery, Manchester Foundation Trust. For services to Medical Organisations Overseas.
Vanita BROOKES A resident of Bolton. Fellow, Faculty of Dental Surgery, Royal College of Surgeons of England. For services to the Oral Health of People with Disabilities
Hayley Karen CITRINE A resident of Trafford. Lately Chief Nurse North West, NHS England. For services to Nursing
Denise EAD A resident of Stockport. Former Charity Trustee, Helping Uganda Schools. For services to the Education and Health of Children in Uganda and Rwanda
Jonathan Grant EVANS A resident of Trafford. For services to Association Football in Northern Ireland
Nicola Jean FLEURY A resident of Salford. Managing Director, Kidzrus Nursery Group, Salford. For services to Early Years Education and to the community in Salford
Peter HART A resident of Wigan. District Executive Committee Member, Wigan and District Scout Council. For services to Young People in Greater Manchester
Zoe Branka HOLLAND A resident of Trafford. For Charitable Service, particularly during Covid-19
Dr Rosemary MCCARTHY A resident of Trafford. Head of Global Workforce, Education and Research, Health Education England. For services to Midwifery and Maternity Healthcare
Michelle Sharon MORRIS A resident of Salford. Early Years Language and Communication Pathway Lead, Greater Manchester Combined Authority. For services to Speech and Language Therapy
Professor Robert Charles PEARSON A resident of Stockport. Lately Chair, Clinical Ethics Committee, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. For services to Medicine, to Medical Education and to Health Research and Innovation
Petro REWKO A resident of Tameside. Board Chairman, Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain. For services to the Ukrainian Community
Alison ROSS A resident of Manchester. Operations and Culture Director, Auto Trader. For services to the Digital and Technology Industry
Mercy Lusungu SHIBEMBA A resident of Oldham. Speaker and Campaigner. For services to People with HIV
Sandra STRONG A resident of Stockport. Chair, Customs and Export Licensing Committee, British Exporters Association. For services to British Exporters
Lloyd Justin THOMAS A resident of Salford. Lead, Apprenticeships and Funded Skills, The Co-operative Group. For services to Food Retail
Medallists of the Order of the British Empire
A BEM is awarded to people who have contributed a very hands-on service to the community in a local geographical area. Either sustained commitment in support of local charitable or voluntary activity or innovative work that has delivered real impact in a short period (3/4 years). The following people have been awarded a BEM:
Idris ALI A resident of Oldham. Provision Contracts Manager, Department for Work and Pensions. For voluntary service to the community in Oldham
Icek Jankel ALTERMAN A resident of Bury. For services to Holocaust Remembrance and Education
Robert Frank BONNER A resident of Rochdale. Curator, Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum Trust. For services to Fire and Rescue Heritage
Norman BROWN A resident of Wigan. Group Scout Leader, 3rd Hindley Scout Group. For services to Young People
Henry FINNEY A resident of Tameside. Voluntary Boxing Coach. For services to Boxing and to Young People
Carol Janice Veronica GODBY A resident of Rochdale. Drama Workshop Leader and Agent. For services to Drama and to the community in North West England
Oyovwe Sagbodje KIGHO A resident of Oldham. Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Widows Empowerment Trust. For services to Bereaved People in Manchester
Anthony MCALLISTER A resident of Tameside. Football Coach. For services to Association Football and to Young People in Manchester
Mohammad MIRZA A resident of Tameside. Caseworker, HM Revenue and Customs. For services to Mental Health
Geoffrey Bruce SWORD A resident of Bury. Lately Chair, Summerseat Players. For services to Drama and to the communities of Greater Manchester and East Lancashire
In a ceremony at The Monastery, Manchester, on the 15th December 2022, 8 Honour’s Recipients received their medals from The Lord-Lieutenant. The Vice Lord-Lieutenant and all the recipients’ home town Mayors were also in attendance to help and to congratulate them all.
There were 7 recipients of the BEM and also a recipient of an Honorary MBE who attended with friends and family to celebrate their fantastic achievements in the wonderful setting of the Great Nave at The Monastery.
The recipients and their guests from across Greater Manchester listened to the citations which were read out by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant and broke into applause as each of the stories were revealed and each walked forward to receive their medals from the Lord-Lieutenant.
The recipients and their stories are as follows:
Helen Caroline Victoria BEDFORD-GAY – Trafford Borough – British Empire Medal
Helen has been committed to the Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) community since receiving the devastating news that her son was diagnosed with the condition in 2009. FOP is one of the rarest, most disabling genetic conditions known to medicine imprisoning the body in a second skeleton.
Along with her husband, they set up and manage FOP Friends the only UK charity of its kind. When parents receive the diagnosis, they are often advised by the medical professionals not to search online as the results can be overwhelming and alarming, especially when first coming to terms with the news. Instead, families are signposted to Helen, recognising how much she is valued, trusted and respected. Helen then directs FOP patients and their families to the services which can help them.
Helen has worked with schools and health authorities, on behalf of families, spending hours creating individual Educational, Health and Care Plans. She liaises with teachers across the country ensuring that the condition is understood and FOP children are not disadvantaged during their educational journey. Due to its rarity, patients from across the world often get in touch with Helen to seek her advice due to her knowledge and dedication to help as many people as possible. In 2016, she founded the creative #FunFeet4FOP campaign to raise awareness and help prevent misdiagnoses. She also instigated and organised the first Family Respite Weekend dedicating a great deal of time securing funding to ensure no cost to the families. Through her charitable activities, she has led by example to build a highly connected and supportive community that has raised over £750,000 for research into the condition.
When her son was diagnosed, there was no charity, no treatment and no hope. Helen has irreversibly changed that.
Dorothy Margaret BOWKER – Wigan Borough – British Empire Medal
Dorothy had a vision for a community café and social supermarket and has been the driving force behind the Bridge at Leigh for over 5 years. It is run by thirty volunteers along with five paid staff, and provides a community café, social supermarket, wellness rooms as well as Just the Job, a programme supporting women into work.
The café opens five days a week and provides a valuable drop-in centre for people who are disadvantaged or lonely and in need of an affordable cup of tea or coffee. It has an activities programme teaching art and crafts and also provides valuable counselling services and mental health support classes.
The larger part of the charity’s work is the provision of the social supermarket. Set somewhere between a foodbank and a supermarket. For a payment of a £2 per week membership fee, people can come and buy their groceries from a very wide range of products for approximately 20% of the price of a regular supermarket. This helps many families with very little income whose children are living in food poverty. It is a source of inexpensive food with choices of what to buy offered in a non-judgemental and dignified way. Almost nothing is wasted. Through the Too Good to Go programme, surplus food can be bought for about 5% of the supermarket price to ensure very little is thrown away.
During lockdown the group packed and delivered around 100 food hampers per day both to their members and others who were in need. The 30 volunteers contribute over 20,000 hours per year to the programme and The Bridge was honoured with a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service award in 2021.
Dorothy has worked tirelessly to ensure the success of this critical community resource.
Pamela Ann DUXBURY – Bolton Borough – British Empire Medal
Pamela has a background in counselling and volunteered for Age UK Bolton for 5 years before volunteering at Beacon Bolton Counselling Service. She has lived in Bolton all her life and has served the community as a counsellor for over two decades. For 11 years she volunteered as Co-ordinator, leading Beacon completely unpaid. It is only latterly that she has taken on a paid role at the organisation.
Beacon provides therapeutic counselling to anyone over the age of 16 years irrespective of race, religion, gender, or sexuality. Beacon’s volunteers are very diverse in terms of age, gender and race, reflecting the diverse community it serves. Volunteers undertake a variety of roles from Counsellors, administration support, receptionists and Trustees tirelessly led by Pamela as the Service Manager. When Beacon’s new counselling suite doubled their capacity, the former Leader of Bolton said ‘Resources are stretched across our health services and the voluntary sector is stepping up to take a lot of the pressure. The work Beacon is doing shines brighter than ever for those in need and seeking support.’
Alongside the general therapy that Beacon offers, it also provides a Sexual Abuse Victims and Survivors Group giving survivors of childhood sexual abuse aged 16 or over the opportunity to work within support groups facilitated by qualified counsellors trained in sexual abuse.
In 2021 Beacon was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and were specially recognised for their work throughout the Covid Pandemic.
Pamela has had a remarkable impact in Bolton both through her counselling and leadership of Beacon by offering a lifeline to many people with nowhere to turn whilst also providing an opportunity for people to experience and consider the field of counselling as a career.
Ann Denise LONSDALE – Bolton Borough – British Empire Medal
Committed to tackling inequality in the pursuit of justice and fairness, Denise has devoted her time to the people of Bolton. She has advised, fought and campaigned for people with a wide range of problems such as poverty, homelessness, unemployment, debts and mental health.
Originally seeking help from Bolton Advice Centre 40 years ago, she became a volunteer, subsequently helping thousands of people with their benefit claims, disability claims, housing problems and more. In an unpaid managerial role, she became the driving force behind the centre and became widely known and admired in the community and by leading figures in the town, including MPs, councillors, local officials as well as charity sector and statutory body leaders.
Due to her resourcefulness and determination, she kept the centre open with meagre funding and donations, despite it facing closure many times. When it lost core funding in 2019 she worked to successfully achieve charitable status, without which, the Centre would have closed. During the pandemic it was one of the few places where disadvantaged people were still able to get help. In addition, the Centre also distributed PPE and ran a vaccine awareness program for the community and Denise also volunteered, with a small group, making scrubs for healthcare workers who desperately needed them during the pandemic.
After securing funding to employ a full-time manager, she stepped back from the role but still dedicates her time as a volunteer to those who need her most. Over the last few years, she has lost her husband through a long painful illness, for which she is now trying to raise awareness of. She has also lost friends and other volunteers.
A true community hero, it is no wonder that the Centre is referred to by many as Denise’s Centre.
Michelle Angeline MCHALE – Trafford Borough – British Empire Medal
Michelle is a long-time volunteer and Trustee at Bridging The Gap, a traditional face-to-face food bank service for the communities of Hulme, Moss Side, Whalley Range and Old Trafford.
During the Covid Pandemic this service was no longer viable, but Michelle knew that people in the community would require more support during this incredibly difficult period. She took steps to adopt a food delivery model for the food bank, enabling them to continue to serve those most in need throughout the pandemic and increase the levels of assistance to meet the unprecedented increase in demand.
During the first four months of the crisis up to July 2020, the food bank provided 1343 parcels, feeding 1903 adults and 1153 children. This represented an increase of 345% over the same period in 2019. This expanded emergency response required considerable amounts of food and Michelle worked tirelessly to ensure increased supply and coordinated and encouraged support from individuals and organisations in the community. She coordinated partnerships with a number of different local authority response hubs and local organisations including churches, homeless shelters and schools, to not only secure support for the food bank but also to provide support for other organisations in need. This included helping a newly established homeless shelter to access the same support that her food bank had been afforded.
Michelle also established a school holiday programme as part of the food bank’s offering, providing school holiday parcels including food, activity packs, educational resources and reading books, to 174 local families.
Despite the Pandemic easing, demand remains exceptionally high, and Michelle continues to go above and beyond to look after those in need in her community.
Victoria SNELL – City of Salford Borough – British Empire Medal
When she was twenty Victoria broke her leg and despite numerous surgeries it did not heal. Six years later, she asked doctors to amputate it so that she could get on with her life. After learning how to walk again she celebrated her first-year amputee anniversary by running a 5k; this is the same woman, who also held a Let’s Get Vicky Legless Party, days before her amputation. This sums up her strength of character and determination.
Since then, she has been a one-woman powerhouse, determined to succeed in life and to support others along the way. In her job as a Customer Relations Manager for Transpenine Express she constantly helps customers who have not had the best experience with the service. She leads the relationship with key industry partners and helps to manage a busy appeal process and caseload volumes, making sure customers’ appeals are resolved correctly.
The rail industry’s reputation has taken quite a pummelling. It has also had to meet many challenges head on, ranging from major timetable changes, extreme weather conditions, the impact of the Manchester Terror Attack and not least the Covid Pandemic, affecting customers and their travel plans. Victoria has, almost single-handedly at times, managed to keep everything afloat and regularly delivers over and above to help both customers and colleagues.
Alongside this she is heavily involved in supporting others, not only throughout the wider rail industry, but also via her social media networks. Following the years of pain that she endured, she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety but despite this, is passionate about inspiring and helping others through the many talks, presentations and media interviews that she has been involved with.
Victoria has been instrumental in providing wellbeing and mental health support throughout the business and externally.
Vincent John THOMPSON – Tameside Borough – British Empire Medal
As a founding member and Co-Owner of F.C. United of Manchester, Vincent committed himself to serve the club and the wider community. He is the Community Liaison Officer for the club and assists as part of the matchday workforce. Since the club’s inception he has worked on various projects to improve the community. In his role within the club, he has established projects designed to enhance mental welfare, social inclusion, employability and reduction of social isolation.
At the onset of the first Covid Pandemic lockdown, Vincent identified that many households were having difficulty accessing food. He gained permission from the club to use the football ground as a food hub for the collection of food and other essential household items, as well as the picking and packing of these for delivery. He formed a partnership with the City Council and the North Manchester Business Network and amassed a team of over 40 volunteers all within the first 2 weeks. Volunteer packers assembled the food parcels and a separate team of volunteer drivers delivered the food parcels and made regular check-ins on those who were using the service. Vincent worked most days of the week at the Food Hub and it was also utilised to support other food banks in the surrounding areas.
In addition to food deliveries, he also arranged support for more vulnerable individuals and families who had been particularly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This included the sourcing and delivery of items such as bedding and winter clothing.
Vincent’s passion for helping others and doing community work including anti-racism, youth engagement and combatting homelessness is second nature to him. He continues to forge relationships with other organisations to help him achieve all his goals.
Marie Margaret STOCK – Stockport Borough – Honorary Member of The British Empire
As Assistant Principal for Student Support and Experience at Manchester College, Marie faces the immense challenge of supporting 20,000 students across 9 sites, many of whom are disadvantaged and vulnerable. She plays an integral role in supporting these students daily by leading 90 members of staff in the student support team.
Marie identified problems in the college and implemented strategies to wrap services around the most vulnerable pupils in incredibly complex situations, often involving foreign national students, refugees and asylum seekers. She has developed personalised strategies for young people considered very high risk, such as organising the timetables for those that are vulnerable to gang crime so that there were no members of rival gangs on the campus at the same time. This helped to re-engage some of the highest risk young people in the college, including students that have been involved in counter-terrorism offences.
The success of Marie’s work is exemplified by the improved Ofsted rating to ‘Good’ commending the “strong focus on ensuring that students are safe” and providing “highly effective support for those students who are most at risk”.
Acknowledging her work, she was offered the Education Lead role in a newly established Greater Manchester Violence Reduction Unit. Starting in 2019, it involved looking at how to reduce serious violence across the education sector in Greater Manchester. In a relatively short space of time, Marie made a real impact developing an after-school programme aimed at keeping young people away from community-based violence and developing protocols for schools to deal with fixed term exclusions, ensuring young people remain safe whilst excluded.
Marie has had a hugely positive impact on the communities of Greater Manchester.