THEY are the Hampshire heroes who have played a key role in the battle to combat coronavirus and protect the public.

Health experts across the county found themselves in the front line after the virus emerged at the start of the year, plunging the UK into its biggest peacetime emergency.

Now their work in trying to curb the devastating impact of Covid-19 has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.

Dr Katrina Cathie, a consultant paediatrician at University Hospital Southampton, is made an MBE for services to paediatrics and the response to the pandemic.

Dr Cathie, 40, is chair of National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network.

During the first months of the pandemic she volunteered to leave her research duties to cover clinical shifts in paediatric and short-stay units, as well as covering for colleagues who were sick and organising new shifts and rotas for the paediatric team.

She also helped oversee the Covid vaccine study introduced at the University of Southampton in collaboration with Oxford.

Dr Cathie worked with research staff, nurses and fellows from across the region to recruit hundreds of participants to the trials as well as helping to spearhead the project.

She also became the lead principal investigator locally for the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine trial.

Dr Nisreen Alwan, Associate Professor in Public Health at Southampton University, is made an MBE for services to medicine and public health during the pandemic.

Dr Alwan, 46, helped assemble a national group of senior public health clinicians and epidemiologists who warned the government that extended periods of lockdown would increase economic and social damage.

She also helped Southampton City Council develop plans to deliver a pilot for weekly testing, with rapid scale-up to city-wide testing once the strategy was proven.

The pilot became a blueprint for a regional and national rollout of mass testing.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “Her professional, technical, and interpersonal skills have been key in managing the wide ranging programme of work and bringing all the participating sectors, people, and organisations together to deliver the master plan.”

Professor Keith Godfrey, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Southampton, is made an MBE for services to medicine during the Covid-19 response.

He also helped the city council, along with the university and the NHS, deliver its pilot programme for weekly testing.

The Cabinet Office said data generated by the programme would increase national confidence in measures to prevent transmission of infection. It would also permit informed management of any secondary spikes of infection which arose in the future.

Fareham resident Sharon Sear, commercial manager at Transport for London (TfL), is awarded the BEM.

According to the Cabinet Office, Mrs Sear, 52, has played a crucial role in keeping thousands of people safe - and London moving - during the pandemic.

She prevented TfL from running out of PPE by changing procurement practices, implementing new control methods for ordering and setting up a secure portal with suppliers. Mrs Sear also helped the NHS secure face masks at the peak of the shortage.

Former churchwarden Richard Andrews, 74, of Portchester, is awarded the BEM for services to the community.

The self-taught cabinet maker has done a large amount of woodwork for his local church. Over the years he has built a large altar base and altar rails as well as maintaining the building and carrying out repairs to houses occupied by the vicar and the curate.

He also created a Second World War memorial and lifelike silhouettes of servicemen who fought in the conflict.

Richard Ashman, library co-ordinator at City College, Southampton, is made a BEM for services to further education.

Mr Ashman, 59, strives to improve reading opportunities and levels of literacy across a range of social and economic backgrounds within an inner-city area.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “He is passionate about reading and the positive impact books can have on students’ lives and never stops thinking about ways to engage students of all ages with reading, especially those who do not have books at home.

“He has transformed the library at City College into an engaging space for all students.”

Vivien Loveday, 75, of Bishop’s Waltham, is awarded the BEM for services to the community.

For the past 40 years she has run the Bishops Waltham Gateway Club, which helps people with learning disabilities take part in leisure, social and creative activities.

The Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “She has built and run a vibrant club which provides the highlight of the week for its members, from organising social activities, arts and crafts, and organising outings for members.

“It provides an opportunity for adults with a learning disability the chance to socially interact with friends in a warm friendly environment.”

Deputy Director of HM Coastguard Chris Thomas, based at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s (MCA) headquarters in Southampton has also been recognised on the honours list.

He joined the MCA in 2002 where his commitment to maritime safety and search and rescue has been seen at all levels.

At the same time, Chris has been one of the MCA’s Inclusion Champions and has promoted issues of diversity and equality campaigning to increase women joining Her Majesty’s Coastguard and improving female representation at senior levels within the Agency. On his own initiative Chris worked with Stonewall to support vibrant LGBTQ+ initiatives across the MCA and he continues to champion under- represented groups and Networks.

Other Hampshire residents that have been honoured include:

  • Karl Simons. Chief Health, Safety and Wellbeing Officer, Thames Water. For services to Mental Health Policy. (Ringwood, Hampshire) OBE
  • Paul Stanley Brockman. Woodland Manager, Hoburne Bashley, New Forest. For services to Woodland Management and Nature Conservation. (New Milton, Hampshire) BEM
  • Thomas Reynold Fowler. Technical Leader, Environment Agency. For services to the Environment. (Ringwood, Hampshire) BEM
  • Stevo Radjen. For voluntary and charitable services in South West England. (Brockenhurst, Hampshire) BEM
  • Margaret Adela Miriam Carver. For services to Sport and to the Media Sector. (Winchester, Hampshire)
  • Professor James David Forbes Calder TD. Professor, Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London. For services to Sport and to Exercise. (Alresford, Hampshire)
  • Gavin John Edgerley-Harris. Director, Gurkha Museum. For services to Gurkha and Military Heritage. (Winchester, Hampshire)
  • Dr Edgar Joseph Feuchtwanger. Historian. For services to Anglo-German Understanding and History. (Winchester, Hampshire)
  • Alan Douglas Watson. Chair and Captain, The Medusa Trust. For services to Maritime History and to Charity. (Eastleigh, Hampshire)
  • Dr Matthew Richard West. Consultant, Centre for National Infrastructure. For services to Information Management in Business. (Fareham, Hampshire)
  • Christine Dominique Beresford. Chair of Trustees, Whitchurch Silk Mill Trust and Winchester Military Musuem. For services to Cultural Heritage in Hampshire. (Andover, Hampshire)
  • James Russell Gouldie. Supply Chain Director for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Bidford. For services to the Vulnerable during the Covid-19 Response. (Winchester, Hampshire)
  • Richard Hugh Osgood. Senior Archaeologist, Defence Infrastructure Organisation. For services to Defence and to Heritage. (Winchester, Hampshire)
  • Vivien Loveday. For services to the community in Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire. (Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire)
  • Patricia Tarry. Volunteer, Girl Guides and Scouts. For services to Girlguiding. (Eastleigh, Hampshire)
  • Rachel Louise Webber. Community Champion, Gosport Store. For services to the Economy during Covid-19. (Gosport, Hampshire)