HAMPSHIRE'S heroes have been honoured in the Queen's birthday honours list for their tireless work for charities and communities.

Dedicated workers in the field of business and academia were also rewarded for their achievements.

The list had an educational feel, with the county's chief education officer, Andrew Seber, being made a CBE for his services to education.

He has been county education officer since 1998 and has more than 30 years' experience in the education service, both as a teacher and a manager. He has been involved in advising government on matters such as funding and standards.

Mr Seber, 53, who lives in the Winchester area, said: "I am pleased to receive this honour, not just on a personal basis but also for the recognition it gives to the whole service.

"I would like to pay special tribute to colleagues in our schools, colleges and early years centres who work hard to provide the very best for children and adult learners."

Leighton Rich has been made an MBE after dedicating his career to educating youngsters, particularly in music through his role as director of Hampshire County Youth Band.

The popular maestro, who lives in Eastleigh, has been the band's director since 1986.

Mr Rich, who is also a teacher, has been instrumental in guiding the band to many successes - both at home and abroad.

Special needs education was also recognised with Col John Sweeting, 58, chief executive of the Treloar Trust and former chairman of the Association of Nat-ional Specialist Colleges, being made a CBE.

He said: "I am particularly pleased that the importance of special education has been recognised. I have been able to work hard to raise its profile within the government."

Col Sweeting, of Kings Worthy near Winchester, has been chief executive of the Treloar Trust, based in Alton, for the past seven years. It provides young people with physical disabilities with the education, training, care, confidence, skills and support to achieve their best in all aspects of life.

Lt Col Dennis French, 84, of Christchurch Road, Winch-ester, was made an MBE for his services to adult education. After 15 years as chairman of the Winchester branch of the Workers' Educational Association, Mr French said he was honoured that something that he had thoroughly enjoyed doing had been recognised.

He said: "I was astonished to be honest with you. I couldn't believe it.

"The WEA is a wonderful organisation and I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the committee and for some 15 years as chairman."

Norman Digance was made an MBE for his services to financial regulation. As senior manager for the Financial Services Author-ity that overseas the banking industry, Mr Digance, 59, who lives in Oram's Mount in Winchester, said it was important that the regulation of the banking world had been recognised as worthy of the honour.

The field of intensive care nursing was also recognised, with Dr Maureen Coombs from Lyndhurst being made an MBE in recognition of her work as a consultant nurse in critical care nursing for Southampton Univ-ersity Hospitals NHS Trust.

One of the founding members of a leading Southamp-ton charity for young homeless people has been made an MBE.

Ann-Marie McCarthy, of Shawford near Winchester, helped to set up the Rainbow Project in 1981. The charity offers advice, support and accommodation to young people aged from 16 to 25.

A Hamble man, who is well known in the yachting world, and has been at the helm of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, has been made a CBE.

Peter Nicholson, 70, who is chairman of the RNLI, is honoured for his services to maritime rescue.

He said: "It is a very nice honour and a tribute to the RNLI."

New Forest resident Victoria Edwards has received an honour for her services to the environment.

Her work on the board of the Countryside Agency has been recognised with an OBE.

A former music librarian from the Isle of Wight has been awarded the MBE for his services to the Bonchurch community. Ian Snow, a skilled pianist and organist, worked at the Ventnor branch for nearly 40 years.

Harrison Spencer, of Gunard, Isle of Wight, has been made an MBE for his services to yacht rigging and sailing at Cowes.

Fellow Islander David Wheeler, of Ventnor, has also been made an MBE for his services to the community in Steephill Cove.

Mary Martyn, of Winchester, has been made an OBE, for her work as head of the seafarer health and safety branch of the Southampton-based Mari-time and Coastguard Agency.

Two Hampshire sailors have been made MBEs. Lt Cdr Larry Johnson, 58, of Tisted, near Alton, is honoured for his contribution to the Sea Cadet Corps.

Warrant officer Michael O'Connor, 48, of Lee-on-the-Solent, is recognised for his work in the Defence Crisis Management Centre.

The Hamble man behind the global success of the Internet has been made a CBE. Professor David Payne, 59, director of the optoelectronics research centre at the University of Southampton, was responsible for leading a team which invented a fibre optic that is used globally, making the Internet possible.

He is also the chairman and director of Southampton Photonics Inc, the £30m company that is responsible for many other key advances in optical fibre communications.

He said: "It's one thing to be recognised by the scientific community but it's another to be recognised by the population as a whole, which is what I believe the Queen's honours do."

Ian Glenday has also been made a CBE for his work as executive director of Gate-ways, which sets up and impl-ements government projects.

The 60-year-old, from Shaw-ford near Winchester, has been running the London-based company for four years after retiring from the chemical company Exxon. He said: "I'm absolutely delighted. We have an exc-ellent team and it is tremendous fun."

Ewart Wooldridge, from Alresford, was also made a CBE for his work as the former director of the Civil Service College.