Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Subscribe Now

King’s Birthday Honours 2024: All those honoured in Suffolk as Britten Pears Arts chief is knighted and Hey Girls founder Celia Hodson awarded OBE

Change-makers and innovators from across Suffolk have been celebrated in the King’s Birthday Honours list, revealed tonight.

There were eight honours recipients from Suffolk and more than 90 from across East Anglia in HM The King’s Birthday Honours List 2024, published by the Cabinet Office.

The focus of this year’s list is those who have initiated substantial change where it was needed and developed innovative solutions that have had an impact on the lives of thousands of people.

The King’s Birthday Honours have been released. Picture: Geoff Robinson Photography
The King’s Birthday Honours have been released. Picture: Geoff Robinson Photography

Many are active community champions, innovative social entrepreneurs, pioneering scientists, passionate health workers and dedicated volunteers who have gone the extra mile.

Among those on the list from Suffolk are: a woman who has devoted more than 50 years to heritage and culture, championing inclusion of people from all communities; a man whose work in the fields of science and technology has helped to create faster and more reliable communications; and a woman who helped to ensure the Meals on Wheels service continued after its previous operator pulled the plug.

Suffolk King’s Birthday Honours 2024

Jonathan Legh-Smith, 58, of Woodbridge, MBE for services to science and technology

Jonathan Legh-Smith
Jonathan Legh-Smith

Last year he led BT’s engagement in quantum technologies, building productive collaborations with researchers, government and SMEs and encouraging BT to share resources and equipment to further scientific understanding.

During his time at the telecommunications company, he supported industry-defining technologies such as Network Function Virtualisation (NVF) and G.FAST, creating faster and more accessible communications.

He also established BT’s school engagement programme in the East of England.

Mr Legh-Smith, who now works as executive director at UKQuantum - which promotes and advances the Quantum Industry, said: “It’s entirely unexpected.

“I feel really honoured to have received the award and to be nominated for it.

“It’s great to be recognised for the work I have done and in terms of recognition this doesn’t come around often so it’s up there with my best achievements.”

As well as being a key driver of the UK Quantum Industry Group he has worked on national and international standards, contributing to several organisations including the International Organisation for Standardisation and the European Computer Manufacturers Association.

Heather Broughton, 72, of Wangford, MBE for services to herirtage and to the community

Ms Broughton has racked up nearly 40 years of local government service and more than 50 years’ service to heritage and culture, championing involvement and inclusion of people from all walks of life.

In her time in local government she secured numerous externally funded projects, including the award-winning Bosworth Battlefield revitalisation and finished in the sector as Leicestershire’s assistant director for communities and wellbeing.

Ms Broughton, in her work with heritage organisations, served as a National Lottery Heritage Fund committee member for nine years, finishing in March, and as a Derby Museums Trust board member for six, while also supporting smaller charitable endeavours.

Along the way she contributed to projects including the Hereford Museum, Ice House in Great Yarmouth and Staffordshire Archives.

She has also been a mentor to new entrants into the sector and was a voluntary external examiner for Nottingham Trent University’s MA in heritage management.

She now volunteers in Wangford and supports levelling-up projects in Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and other areas less well served by heritage.

Teresa Aristodemou, 54, founder of Aspect Living Foundation, BEM for services to older people in Suffolk

Ms Aristodemou has been awarded a British Empire Medal. Picture: Teresa Aristodemou
Ms Aristodemou has been awarded a British Empire Medal. Picture: Teresa Aristodemou

When the Royal Voluntary Society discontinued its Meals on Wheels service in 2017, Ms Aristodemou, of Ipswich, stepped up to ensure the lifeline would not disappear.

She took over running the service during a period when local authority funding was withdrawn due to budgetary constraints. She then returned Meals on Wheels to profitability.

Ms Aristodemou set up the charity Aspect Living Foundation to take over the Meals on Wheels, with a board of trustees with experience in the healthcare and financial sectors.

The new Meals on Wheels service started in 2018, forging links with hospitals, councils and healthcare providers.

The charity was resilient enough to weather a 25 per cent increase in demand through the Covid-19 pandemic.

In 2021, Ms Aristodemou set up Hospital to Home (H2H), a scheme which takes donations to finance meals, allowing hospitals to discharge patients early in the knowledge they will receive a daily health check and a hot meal. This helped to ease pressure on the NHS.

She said the medal was not just for her, but would go out to everyone who has helped over the past six and a half years.

Ms Aristodemou said: “I couldn't believe I'd been nominated.

“Even though I’m just a little girl from Suffolk I decided to throw myself at starting my own charity.

“It’s a hard job working seven days a week, but it’s worthwhile.

“Our job is vital. Social isolation is one of the biggest killers for the elderly, so even having someone to talk to is a huge help.

“Our aim is to give the elderly as much independence as we can in their own homes as possible.”

Richard Evans, of Sudbury, BEM (Medallists of the Order of the British Empire) for services to the community in Stansfield.

Richard and Mary Evans. Picture: Submitted
Richard and Mary Evans. Picture: Submitted

The award’s announcement follows the death in January of Richard’s wife, Mary, following a short illness.

He said: “While I am deeply touched to be nominated for this honour, the real recipient should be my late wife.

“She was the shining light who did so much for Stansfield and dozens of similar villages throughout Suffolk.

Richard Evans. Picture: Submitted
Richard Evans. Picture: Submitted

“I have little doubt her remarkable contribution, initially as a volunteer and latterly as a county county councillor and deputy leader of Suffolk County Council, played a part in my nomination for a BEM.

“I am accepting the award in that spirit. No one would have been more deserving of public recognition than her.”

Richard served as a Stansfield parish councillor for a number of years, including a spell as chairman.

Together with Mary he set up Stansfield Bridge Club in 2007, which quickly became and remains one of the largest and most popular bridge clubs in Suffolk. Today it has a membership of 150 from the local area.

He also transformed a church-focused newsletter into a monthly magazine of broader interest covering several villages and served two terms as its editor.

Richard worked for The Times for 20 years, where he was deputy political editor and subsequently racing correspondent, before spending 10 years on the Daily Telegraph.

In 2007, he started teaching bridge full time and has taught more than 1,000 people to play the game.

Roger Wright CBE, of Halesworth, chief executive of Britten Pears Arts, knights bachelor (knighthood) for services to music

Roger Wright CBE has served as Chief Executive of Snape Maltings since 2014.

Before this, he spent 17 years as Controller of BBC Radio 3 and seven years as Director of the BBC Proms.

His career at the BBC began in 1986 as Senior Producer at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, followed by his role as Artistic Administrator of The Cleveland Orchestra in 1989.

Roger was awarded a CBE in 2015 for his contributions to music.

Celia Hodson, of Eye, founder and chief executive of Hey Girls, OBE for services to promoting period dignity and raising awareness of free period products in Scotland

Margaret Lee, of Ipswich, OBE for services to local government

Ian Turner, of Bury St Edmunds, co-chair of the National Care Association and lately chair of the Registered Nursing Home Association, OBE for services to social care

Ian Turner studied Pure and Applied Mathematics at Newcastle University before starting his career with International Computers Ltd in the early 1970s.

Initially he worked as a programmer before moving into operating system support, marketing, project management and sales management.

In 1984, he purchased and converted a property into a nursing home, eventually expanding to six homes with 270 beds across East Anglia which provides care for older adults and those with dementia.

Ian has chaired the Registered Nursing Home Association for the past decade and was part of the team implementing the Care Act in 2014-15

Recipients from East Anglia made up 8.6 per cent of the total number of recipients receiving honours this year.

Anyone can nominate someone for an honour. If you know someone who has achieved fantastic things worthy of recognition, you can nominate them at https://www.gov.uk/honours.