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Suffolk people recognised in Queen's New Year Honours list 2021 for achievements including services to charity, policing, and nursing during Covid-19 pandemic




More than a dozen Suffolk residents have been recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours list.

While some have been awarded for their efforts to help others during the coronavirus pandemic this year, others have been honoured for their contributions to charity and fundraising, or for services to their communities.

The honours – which have been given by monarchs since the middle ages – recognise people who have 'made achievements in public life' and 'committed themselves to serving and helping Britain'.

Some of the Suffolk residents who have been recognised in the Queen's New Year's Honours list
Some of the Suffolk residents who have been recognised in the Queen's New Year's Honours list

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Robert Champion - Newmarket - for charitable services to prostate and testicular cancer research

Newmarket's very own national hero Bob Champion becomes a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year Honours list.

Bob Champion, left, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list
Bob Champion, left, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list

His CBE is awarded for his charity work funding research into prostate and testicular cancer.

Seventy-two-year-old Bob, who lives in Newmarket, was made an MBE in 1982 for services to horseracing following his win in the 1981 Grand National on Aldaniti which came two years after he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

In 1983 the Bob Champion Cancer trust was set up and has raised more than £20 million for cancer research. and three years later the Bob Champion Cancer Research Unit within the Royal Marsden NHS Trust Hospital at Sutton in Surrey was opened.

Twenty years ago the Bob Champion Research Centre for Urological Cancers was opened in conjunction with the Institute of Cancer Research, the first male dedicated cancer research facility in Europe.

And five years ago the Bob Champion Research and Education building operated by the University of East Anglia in partnership with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital opened in Norwich providing state of the art laboratories for researchers to explore new treatments for diseases from prostate cancer and antibiotic resistance to musculo-skeletal and gastrointestinal diseases.

The Trust is currently funding research to develop a urine test that can diagnose prostate cancer and whether it is the aggressive type.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Catherine Morgan - Eyke - for services to nursing

Catherine Morgan, chief nurse for the East of England for NHS England and NHS Improvement, has been appointed an OBE for services to nursing.

Catherine Morgan, chief nurse for the East of England for NHS England and NHS Improvement
Catherine Morgan, chief nurse for the East of England for NHS England and NHS Improvement

Formerly chief nurse for East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Catherine joined NHS England and NHS Improvement as chief nurse in March of this year, at the beginning of the region’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With 28 years of nursing experience under her belt, Catherine has mostly worked in the eastern region and London, including in NHS trusts in Colchester, King’s Lynn, Chelmsford and Ipswich, predominantly in nursing leadership roles supporting trusts with clinical improvement.

She also specialised for nine years as a consultant nurse in renal medicine.

On hearing she had been appointed an OBE Catherine was astonished, and said she couldn’t have done it without the amazing nurses and health professionals she has worked alongside: “The one thing about nursing is it is about people – it is about a true team, of nursing colleagues, multi-professional health care workers and specialists, patients and their families.

“This year, more than ever before, I have been overwhelmed by the strength and positive attitude of my colleagues across the NHS.

"I have seen people who, however challenged and tired from this difficult year, come together to do the right thing for patients – it’s just the nature of the job.

"I am proud to work with them all, and this OBE is a recognition of them far more than it is me.”

Sharon Pursey - Woodbridge - for services to international trade

Sharon Pursey, from Martlesham near Woodbridge, has been named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services to international trade.

Sharon is the co-founder of SafeToNet - a pioneering technology which helps protect children and young people when using the internet - which she set up with her husband five years ago.

SafeToNet uses smart technology to scan for signs of bullying, self-harm, abuse and aggression, with children thought to be at risk offered ‘in the moment’ help and advice.

Sharon Pursey was awarded an OBE (43780213)
Sharon Pursey was awarded an OBE (43780213)

“There are so many risks and it’s difficult to know where you should start,” said Sharon, who hails from Northern Ireland and moved to Suffolk in September.

“It’s really hard work, especially when I didn’t have any experience at all.

“But we have been so committed, we even sold our house. We believe in it 100 per cent and it’s so great to see it taking off.”

Sharon is due to officially receive her OBE at a ceremony later in 2021.

“I can’t believe it, I’m completely shocked. It’s very nice,” she said.

“It was a bolt from the blue. I’m really excited, really pleased and really proud.”

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Jacky Copping - Beccles - for services to nursing, particularly during Covid-19

A dedicated senior nurse is celebrating after becoming an MBE in the New Year Honours List for her services to nursing during the pandemic.

Jacqueline Copping, Deputy Director of Nursing, James Paget University Hospitals NHS, has been awarded an MBE. Picture: James Paget University Hospitals
Jacqueline Copping, Deputy Director of Nursing, James Paget University Hospitals NHS, has been awarded an MBE. Picture: James Paget University Hospitals

Jacky Copping, who is the James Paget University Hospital’s deputy director of nursing, started training as an enrolled nurse at the hospital more than 35 years ago, undertaking a conversion course and becoming a registered nurse in 1987.

The 54-year-old, who lives near Beccles, soon specialised in orthopaedic nursing – and in 1998 was promoted to senior sister, overseeing the newly-opened orthopaedic rehabilitation ward at Lowestoft Hospital.

Four years later, Jacky was promoted again, this time returning to the James Paget firstly as a ward-based matron, progressing to divisional matron across the Orthopaedic and Accident and Emergency services.

Other senior roles followed, including two years as a project director for patient safety and divisional lead nurse before promotion to her current role as deputy director of nursing in 2017.

“I was totally shocked when I heard,” said Jacky. “I am just doing my job – so to be nominated is quite overwhelming.

“It also gave me pause for thought - I know that my Dad will be looking down on me and feeling so proud of his daughter.”

Jacky attributes her choice of career to her mum, who encouraged her to consider nursing. “It’s amazing really, because I never used to like hospitals! But once I started working in one, I quickly realised it was the job for me,” she said.

“The science of nursing you have to learn. But if it’s in your nature to be kind, caring and compassionate, you are at least halfway there.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented the biggest healthcare challenge but Jacky said she was so proud of the teamwork displayed by the staff at the Paget.

“We’re one big team – and the way staff has responded during the year has been amazing.

"The pandemic has really tested people’s resilience but throughout, staff have given 110 per cent to keep the quality of patient care at a high level, while looking after each other too.”

Max Milburn - Bury St Edmunds - for services to fundraising, especially for St Nicholas Hospice

A Bury St Edmunds fund-raiser who has supported numerous good causes, set up a housing association and hostels and even brought Sir Richard Attenborough to town is among those recognised in the New Year’s Honours.

Max Milburn has received an MBE in the New Year's Honours list. Picture by Mecha Morton
Max Milburn has received an MBE in the New Year's Honours list. Picture by Mecha Morton

Max Milburn said he was ‘completely surprised’ to receive an MBE in the honours for services to fund-raising including for St Nicholas Hospice Care.

The 82-year-old, who ran architect’s practice Milburn and Co for 40 years, has been involved in fund-raising for various good causes.

Having been a founder of The Hindsight Investment Club in the early 1970s for local businessmen, he and other members formed a support group for Muscular Dystrophy and promoted two fund-raisers.

Max Milburn has received an MBE in the New Year's Honours list. Picture by Mecha Morton
Max Milburn has received an MBE in the New Year's Honours list. Picture by Mecha Morton

The first was a Bury to Thetford cycle marathon and the second saw the reopening of the then closed Odeon cinema, in Brentgovel Street, to witness a final full house before demolition for a gala screening of 1978 film Magic attended by director Sir Richard Attenborough and The Duke and Duchess of Grafton.

In 1974, Mr Milburn set up The Suffolk Housing Society, which he managed voluntarily in its first eight years and it now provides more than 2,500 affordable homes throughout the region.

His proudest achievement came when he set up a voluntary management committee for The Carr Gomm Society - later St Matthews - to provide hostels in Northgate Street and Grove Road for the vulnerable and disadvantaged.

“That really was meaningful because otherwise fund-raising is just about running events which people like the sound of, support you and the money comes in but with Carr Gomm it was about putting some real effort in and I was actually supervising it all myself,” he said.

“It was a real eye-opener because people fall into poverty for extraordinary reasons. Sometimes for health and sometimes for jolly bad luck.”

Mr Milburn was on the management committee to help with fund-raising for St Edmunds Nursing Home, now The BMI Hospital.

He set up a fund-raising group to support the building of a children’s hospice at Milton and was approached by Lady Miriam Hubbard to establish a fund-raising committee for St Nicholas Hospice.

His chairmanship of the hospice special events committee promoted fund-raising activities worth more than £1 million.

As a member of Bury St Edmunds Rotary Club, he was among the first westerners to visit Czechoslovakia after the fall of the Iron Curtain and was instrumental in forming a support group for disbanded Rotarians in Podebrady outlawed under the German occupation.

On his various good deeds, he said: “I’m probably a bit of a meddler really - I just like to be involved in creating things.”

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)

Ken Ashby - Newmarket - for services to the community in Suffolk and to the Firefighters Charity

Ken Ashby, who will finally leave Newmarket fire station at the end of next month after a career with the fire service which began back in 1977, will receive the British Empire Medal for his service to the community and the Firefighters' Charity.

Ken Ashby of Suffolk Fire and Rescue. Photo by Mark Bullimore
Ken Ashby of Suffolk Fire and Rescue. Photo by Mark Bullimore

In a career spanning nearly 44 years, Ken, now 64, served first as a part-time firefighter before going full time in 1979 working out of Newmarket fire station until 2009 when he took 'flexible retirement' which saw him working on-call at night and at weekends and, in 2014, he took on the role of liaison officer for on-call firefighters for the whole of Suffolk.

When he finally steps down on January 31, among Ken's legacies to the fire service and his colleagues, past and present, will be the monthly fundraising draw he helped to found in 1987 and has organised ever since.

The Car Draw has raised more than £260,000 for the Firefighters' Charity which helps current and retired firefighters suffering from trauma and injury received in service.

Pearl Brunning - Brandon - for services to the community in Eriswell

Pearl Brunning, 81, has been awarded a BEM for services to the community in Eriswell.

Pearl Brunning has been awarded a BEM in the New Year's honours list for her services to Eriswell. Picture: Richard Marsham/www.rmg-photography.co.uk
Pearl Brunning has been awarded a BEM in the New Year's honours list for her services to Eriswell. Picture: Richard Marsham/www.rmg-photography.co.uk

A parish councillor for 46 years before she stood down in 2019, she has been treasurer at St Laurence and St Peter Church, in Eriswell, since 1972.

On the parish council, she became chairman in 2003, worked on road safety and took a leading role on the village’s charitable committee.

She is involved in running village facilities including the Reading Room and playing fields and, as village historian, has compiled a catalogue of Eriswell’s history over nearly 50 years.

Pearl Brunning has been awarded a BEM in the New Year's honours list for her services to Eriswell. Picture: Richard Marsham/www.rmg-photography.co.uk
Pearl Brunning has been awarded a BEM in the New Year's honours list for her services to Eriswell. Picture: Richard Marsham/www.rmg-photography.co.uk

Mrs Brunning, who moved to Eriswell in 1962 and worked as a home carer in the village and in Lakenheath, said: “I was overcome. I wondered if it was someone playing a trick on me at first. I just can’t believe it.

"I’ve always enjoyed doing everything I’ve done and I wasn’t expecting an award for it.”

The grandmother, whose husband Michael died four years ago, said her proudest moment was walking through the gates of Buckingham Palace after being invited to the palace garden party while she was chairman of the parish council.

Richard Fawcett - Thurston - for services to public libraries

Former Thurston Upper School headteacher Richard Fawcett has been recognised with a BEM for services to public libraries.

Richard Fawcett has received a BEM for services to public libraries. Picture by Mark Westley
Richard Fawcett has received a BEM for services to public libraries. Picture by Mark Westley

The 75-year-old is chairman of the Friends of Thurston Library and played a pivotal role in opening the library in the mid 1990s.

After campaigning to keep the library open in 2011, he helped form Suffolk Libraries, which was launched as an independent and charitable organisation to run the library service from 2012.

His belief in the potential for libraries to make a difference to communities, led to initiatives such as live music and theatre productions, arts projects, an extension to the opening hours, a Christmas tree festival and Thurston hosting a live broadcast of BBC Radio 4's Any Questions.

Mr Fawcett said: "I’m amazed and delighted to receive this great honour.

"Working in Thurston with Suffolk Libraries staff, and the Friends Group whose members have each done so much, has been a privilege and pleasure.

"It is their tremendous work that is being recognised too. From encouraging children to enjoy books and reading, to providing a base to acquire new skills and enjoy activities with other people, libraries play a pivotal role in communities."

David Howse - Haverhill - for voluntary service to policing

Thousands of hours of dedicated service to the Special Constabulary in Suffolk has earned a Haverhill man a Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) in the New Year Honours List.

Special Inspector David Howse, centre, receiving his long service medal. Picture by Karen Willie
Special Inspector David Howse, centre, receiving his long service medal. Picture by Karen Willie

David Howse, the Special Inspector for Haverhill and Bury Rural South, has been awarded the BEM for voluntary service to policing.

Sp Insp Howse, whose day job for the last six years has been a police trainer for the Ministry of Defence Police (but who in a previous career was the PR man for Thresher for ten years) admitted to being a bit 'embarrassed' by the honour.

He said: "Usually, when people say thank you to me I don't know what to say so in terms of embarrassment it doesn't get much worse than this for me.

"I don't do it for the thanks.

"At the age of 18 I thought about becoming a police officer and although I went off and did lots of other things there's something in you that says you want to give something back and that's why the specials is so good.

"I don't get paid for doing this. You talk to anyone, those who work in the emergency services, or whatever it may be and they will say the same thing, it's the same motivation.

"We want to make things better for people. I know that's a bit gushy, but it's genuine."

Sp Insp Howse has completed in excess of 1,000 hours per year on a regular basis since joining the Special Constabulary in August 2009.

Over the years he has worked almost every Friday and Saturday late shift to provide resilience to Haverhill and support his regular colleagues.

He gained promotion to Special Sergeant at Haverhill in 2012 and to Special Inspector in 2013 and currently has six officers in his team.

Sp Insp Howse received a nine-year Long Service Award in the 2019 Suffolk Police's Annual Awards.

Sp Insp Howse added: "There is lots of young people coming into the specials, and that's fantastic, but if more mature people with life experience want to come into it an organisation and a community that needs you, we would welcome them."

Asked if he was planning to continue in the Specials for much longer, he quipped: "As long as I can get away with it, I will carry on doing it."

Christine Shand - Newmarket - for services to the community in Newmarket

Newmarket Academy teacher Christine Shand, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her services to the community.

Newmarket Hospital presentation of care packages to Rosemary ward staff, Sarah Pawsey, Ann Morris, Collette Sorrell and Mercy Neville with Christine Shard and Lenor Anderson. Picture by Mark Westley
Newmarket Hospital presentation of care packages to Rosemary ward staff, Sarah Pawsey, Ann Morris, Collette Sorrell and Mercy Neville with Christine Shard and Lenor Anderson. Picture by Mark Westley

Now 54, Christine has been the organist at St Martin's Church in Exningsince she was 16, and through her love of music has organised countless concerts which have raised thousands of pounds for charity.

A member of Newmarket Rotary Club, Christine has recently taken over as compere for the club's popular annual carol concert at Tattersalls and through lockdown has been hymn singing on line for the combined Newmarket parishes.

Back in September she put together and presented special parcels full of treats for the staff at Newmarket Community Hospital.

"It's a weird feeling really because with everything everyone has gone through this year I was asking myself did I have the right to be excited," said Christine, "but I feel very honoured to have been recognised in this way."

Doreen Twitchett - Lavenham - for services to the community in Lavenham

Doreen Twitchett has received a BEM for services to the community in Lavenham.

Doreen Peggy Twitchett has been awarded a BEM for services to the community in Lavenham. Picture by Mark Westley
Doreen Peggy Twitchett has been awarded a BEM for services to the community in Lavenham. Picture by Mark Westley

The 70-year-old, who was born in the village, has served on the parish council for 20 years and has co-ordinated Lavenham's Good Neighbour Scheme since 2014.

It started with about 40 volunteers, who took on tasks such as driving residents to hospital appointments, collecting shopping and prescriptions and befriending.

Doreen, a former hairdresser, said: "With the pandemic this year, it became an even greater need.

"We put out a call for volunteers in March and we had over 100 people within the community volunteer to help. It's been wonderful."

She serves on the charities committee for the village and the Lavenham Community Land Trust to help with housing for local people.

Doreen said: "I just love Lavenham - that's all I can say. It's my home and I care about the community a lot."

The honours in full

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

  • Robert Champion MBE. Founder, Bob Champion Cancer Trust. For charitable services to Prostate and Testicular Cancer Research (Newmarket)

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

  • Catherine Morgan. Chief Nurse, East of England Region, NHS England and NHS Improvement. For services to Nursing (Eyke)
  • Sharon Pursey. Co-founder, SafeToNet. For services to International Trade (Woodbridge)

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

  • Jacqueline Nicola Copping. Deputy Director of Nursing, James Paget University Hospitals NHS. For services to Nursing, particularly during Covid-19 (Beccles)
  • Tiger De Souza. Volunteering and Inclusion Director, National Trust. For services to Volunteering in the Not-For-Profit Sector, particularly during the Covid-19 Response (Ipswich)
  • Paul John Fenton. Director, Estates and Facilities, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust. For services to the NHS (Ipswich)
  • Martin Paul Mann. Chair, Special Olympics. For services to People with Intellectual Disabilities (Ipswich)
  • Maxwell John Milburn. For services to Fundraising, especially for St Nicholas Hospice, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (Bury St Edmunds)

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)

  • Kenneth Edward Ashby. Lately Watch Commander, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service. For services to the community in Suffolk and to the Firefighters Charity (Newmarket)
  • Pearl May Brunning. For services to the community in Eriswell, Suffolk (Brandon)
  • Richard Sperrin Fawcett. Chair, Friends of Thurston Library. For services to Public Libraries (Thurston)
  • Stephen Christopher Gee. Biomedical Scientist, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust. For services to the NHS during the Covid-19 Response (Ipswich)
  • David Howse. Special Inspector, Suffolk Constabulary. For voluntary service to Policing (Haverhill)
  • Brenda Ann Jackson. For services to the community in Woodbridge, Suffolk (Pettistree)
  • Christine Elizabeth Shand. For services to the community in Newmarket, Suffolk (Newmarket)
  • Doreen Peggy Twitchett. For services to the community in Lavenham, Suffolk (Lavenham)

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