New Year gongs for community champions

Daily Echo: Bill Edwardes Bill Edwardes

HAMPSHIRE’S community champions have today been honoured for doing their bit to help others.

They join celebrities, sports people and professionals who have been rewarded in the New Year Honours out today.

Among them is Second World War veteran Bill Edwardes honoured for his community work and volunteering over the years with a BEM.

Bill joined the Army aged 16 as a stretcher bearer in 1943 and in later years set up and run the 43 Wessex Regimental Association aimed at maintaining and preserving memorials of those who gave their lives in the conflict.

An active member of his church and Rotary he and his wife Jean have set up a mentoring programme at Woodlands Community College in Southampton to help children with their reading and writing.

He said: “It is very humbling to think that people think enough of you to make the effort to make a recommendation.”

  •  Also receiving a BEM is Andrea Finn  who led a campaign to save her village shop.

Andrea and fellow residents – Sue Allpress, above left, and Meryl Corby, above right, – rescued the only store in Woodgreen, near Fordingbridge, which was set to close.

They formed a community association that ran it and then raised £350,000 to fund a larger store nearby.

Andrea, 72, said: “The new shop has a coffee area and is the social centre of the village. A lot of elderly people come in for a chat.”

  •  Scout leader Carolyn Darbyshire,  becomes an MBE after spending three decades overseeing Scout groups in Chandler’s Ford, and is currently district commissioner.

The 66-year-old, who was also a nurse for more than 45 years, has helped organise countless community events and Scouting activities over 30 years.

She said: “It is completely overwhelming – just amazing.

When I found out it was just a feeling of complete disbelief.”

  • A BEM goes to Hermione Goulding,  from Winchester, for services to charity.

Mrs Goulding, 76, worked as a support worker for the Winchester Alliance for Mental Health, befriending service.

She said: “I feel embarrassed by this because there are so many other people who do much more than I do and I just happen to have been picked out.”

  •  Naomi House fundraiser Lucie- Jane Lewis, becomes a MBE for her services to the Sutton Scotney hospice.

Mrs Lewis, who lives in Sway, near Lymington, joined the charity’s New Forest Committee 16-years-ago and has helped raise thousands of pounds to keep the hospice for life-limited children running.

A graphic designer, Mrs Lewis added: “I’m proud to be doing something so unbelievably worthwhile.”

  •  Meanwhile John Underhill, also becomes a MBE for voluntary services to the Royal British Legion in Hampshire after organising 40 cathedral concerts across the country and in Gibraltar and the Falklands for its 90th anniversary celebrations in 2011.

Mr Underhill, of Damerham, near Fordingbridge, said: “Although I was the project manager it was the people on the ground who helped me organise it and in a sense I accept this for them.”

  •  Also honoured is Jacqueline Rowley who is made BEM for services to Eastleigh Friends of People with a Learning Disability.

The social support group helps families and carers with a son or daughter with a learning disability living at home or in supported living within Eastleigh.

  • Consultant nurse David Ferguson has been made an MBE for dedicating his career to improving care for mentally ill patients with learning disabilities.

The 55- year-old from Bishopstoke, who is due to take early retirement from his role at Southern Health in March, has been working in the field for more than 30 years.

During that time one of his major achievements was working with universities across the country to develop a foundation degree for health care support workers.

“I was totally taken by surprise and it was huge honour for just doing my job. I’m very proud to be recognised for the work that I have done,” he said.

  •  Dr Steve Connor,  chief executive and founder of the national Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV), has been honoured with an OBE for services to victims of domestic violence.

Dr Connor, 38, from Alton, founded the NCDV in 2002, the then London Centre for Domestic Violence, and has since worked tirelessly to ensure its continued growth, which has seen it become a national organisation helping more than 10,000 victims a year to take out injunctions against their partners.

  •  Hampshire police inspector Julie Fry, becomes an MBE for her work in ensuring increased reporting of hate crime and improved confidence in policing from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

A member of the Gay Police Association, Inspector Fry recognised the need to form a group supporting LGBT staff working for Hampshire Constabulary.

Throughout her 21 years of service she also provided increased support to members of the LGBT community and as a result of her work, victims of crime from these communities are offered support from specially trained Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers.

  • The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) based in Southampton is celebrating after Richard Wootton,  the MCA’s communications infrastructure manager, has become a MBE for his services to the sevice over 15 years.

The 57-year-old, from Gosport, has been instrumental in work to improve the communications infrastructure as part of a programme to modernise the service.

  • Tracey McAdam, manager of Eastleigh College House, which caters for people with moderate learning disabilities.

has been made MBE for her services to education.

Last year, the facility was judged ‘outstanding’ in all four Ofsted categories following a snap inspection.

  •  Also honoured for her work in education is Pat Usher, who worked for Southampton university for almost 40 years, and has been made an MBE for services to education.

Now retired the 64-year-old Bitterne woman, has championed equality for women, disabled students, ethnic minorities and international students in her role as university administrator.

  • Businessman Michael Wells, founder of Lochs and Glens Holidays, receives an OBE for services to tourism and charity.

Mr Wells, 74, of Beaulieu, started Lochs and Glens Holidays specialising in coach trips to Scotland and owns seven hotels in the Highlands, in 1979.

Comments (1)

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9:23am Sat 29 Dec 12

freemantlegirl2 says...

Well done Pat Usher! hugely deserved, and the irony of the timing isn't lost on us! ;)

congrats to all the recipients !
Well done Pat Usher! hugely deserved, and the irony of the timing isn't lost on us! ;) congrats to all the recipients ! freemantlegirl2

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