The 20 people with King’s Birthday Hounours 2023 from Birmingham & West Midlands & why

The first King’s Birthday Honours List has recognised more than 1,500 people for their services to their industries and communities in 2023 - including 20 from Birmingham & the West Midlands

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More than 1,500 public figures have been recognised in the King’s first Birthday Honours List, including 20 from Birmingham and the West Midlands.

They join the likes of broadcasters Davina McCall and Ken Bruce as well as ex-footballer Ian Wright, former hostage Terry Waite and novelists Ben Okri and the late Martin Amis.

See our local heroes from Birmingham and the West Midlands where 11 MBEs were handed out and nine BEMs. Here’s the full list of the people who received them and why.

1. Darnish Amraz MBE - Youth Worker, Birmingham City Council Youth Service. For services to Young People in Birmingham

The 38 year-old has mentored young people involved in gangs, county lines, anti-social behaviour and young people involved in knife crime. He has spent hours going to young people’s houses, talking to young people when he has got calls from parents, relatives, community projects and faith-based projects.

He has delivered workshops out of working hours to young people and sacrificed his weekends to get a positive message across.

He has worked the streets and gone into areas identified as high risk by West Midlands Police and has worked with young people on their grounds building a relationship with them helping them get into employment education and training.

He encouraged one young person to become a member of the youth parliament and speak in the House of Parliament around knife crime. He encouraged young Muslim females to come out and speak about the stereotypes they face.

He has worked in partnership with the West Midlands Police helping police and young people build a positive relationship, he helped the Police and crime commissioner’s office set up a Mentoring and Violence Prevention Programme.

He trained 15 young people on how to deliver workshops on knife crime so they could go out and spread the positive messages; young people who he trained delivered workshops to over 800 people in the 2019 summer holidays throughout West Midlands and got over 10 schools to sign up to the programme.

He has led the UK Youth Parliament for Birmingham. He set up the Birmingham aspiring youth council in Birmingham so young people could come and express their views around what negativity they are facing, this youth council feeds back to local councillors, MPs and police around what young people feel.

During the pandemic in 2020 whilst workers were working from home, he volunteered to go out on the streets to hotspot areas where young people hang out and work with them to sign post them to services and explaining what risk they are facing and what impact it can have on families.

He was praised for his work by a local councillor and the police chief, they even donated him a mountain bike so he could cover a wider patch. He was appointed by Birmingham City Council youth service to become the youth violence interrupter in March 2020.

2. Harvinder Singh Rai MBE - Sergeant, West Midlands Police. For services to Policing and to the Sikh Community

The 52 year-old’s core commitment to advance diversity and inclusion within West Midlands Police (WMP) and represent its many diverse communities is demonstrated through the WMP recruitment drive to increase the number of officers from Black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds.

He continues to play a crucial role in supporting new recruits from diverse backgrounds, organising and hosting recruitment evenings, which include mock interviews, providing constructive feedback and an insight into the challenging police officer assessment process.

His outstanding contribution has resulted in WMP police officer recruitment from Black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds increasing from 69 officers in 2019/20 to 168 in 2020/21.

To promote engagement between the force and the Sikh community, he co-founded the WMP Sikh Police Association in 2013. During his tenure as Chair, he has supported colleagues with welfare matters ranging from discrimination to misconduct.

He displays solid determination to escalate sensitive matters to provide the correct police or multi agency response; his resolve has developed the association as a support network providing advocacy for victims.

He inspires members to play a more active role in the Association and has established a very positive working relationship with senior officers by routinely offering practical advice and support on Sikh cultural matters, critical to maintaining good community relations.

This partnership has provided senior officers with a better understanding of Sikh concerns and allowed wider avenues of engagement with leaders from the Sikh community. He has fostered successful relationships with community leaders, including national bodies such as the Sikh Assembly.

In 2019 he co-founded the National Sikh Police Association UK (NSPAUK) and was elected President in recognition of his driving force. He collaborated with Essex and Kent Police Forces in 2021 to create the NSPAUK Leadership Academy which now hosts 20 NSPAUK participants taking part in fortnightly virtual workshops. The workshop has increased officers confidence to apply for promotion, resulting in improved progression.

With the support of the Home Secretary, he oversaw and provided strategic direction for a small working group to engage with the Home Office True Vision project (a national hate crime third party reporting portal) and the National Police Chiefs Council to develop the Sikh Guard reporting portal -

In collaboration with True Vision, the website, which was launched in 2022, provides means for the Sikh community nationally to report hate crime. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he led the distribution of 200 larger face coverings for bearded officers and staff in WMP, Bedfordshire, Leicestershire and Gwent police forces.

3. Bishop Dr Desmond Jaddoo MBE - Birmingham based Chairman, Windrush National Organisation. For services to the Windrush Generation

The 56 year-old organised and led the first successful Windrush National Organisation (WNO) national conference in October 2022 with over 100 delegates attending, including representatives from the Home Office and Lord Murray, House of Lords Immigration Minister.

Constructive discussions were held around a range of Windrush related topics to promote the Windrush schemes and build trust in the HO.

He has supported the Windrush Engagement team since May 2018, facilitating events where victims who had been deprived of their proper immigration status met Home Office staff in safe and supportive environments, overcoming their mistrust of the HO.

He arranged and promoted more than 20 events in support of Windrush engagement activities and travelled across the UK and to Jamaica, showing his dedication by securing venues at his own expense for over two years.

Recognising his contribution, he was asked to be part of a Windrush Stakeholder Advisory Group working directly with Windrush officials to provide guidance and advice in shaping Windrush strategy.

He acted as a critical friend towards the Windrush team, being courageous and willing to talk truth to power. When covid restrictions began, he moved events to a digital platform, working with elderly individuals to ensure the technology was accessible.

As Chair of the WNO, he is part of a body of advocates, lawyers, and community activists seeking to challenge and overcome the barriers faced by Windrush scandal victims operating throughout the UK and providing support on an individual and group level.

The group established a regular engagement meeting with an international audience averaging 60 attendees, demonstrating its effectiveness at establishing ongoing dialogue with individuals, and a capability to reach out and engage with new groups, supporting people in their journeys for status confirmation and with compensation claims.

As a Bishop, he utilises his status to reach across a broad range of bodies from community groups to other faith networks, to ensure the Windrush message is disseminated. He also has a considerable social media presence and uses this platform to promote Windrush activities in support of the engagement team.

4. Eniola Aluko MBE - For services to Association Football and to Charity from Birmingham

Before retiring from professional football in January 2020, The 36 year-old played as a forward for Juventus. Since 2014 Eniola Aluko has provided television commentary on football, including men’s and women’s FIFA World Cups. She was named Young Player of the Year at The FA Women’s Football Awards in 2003 and won the FA Women’s Cup for Chelsea in 2015 (winning the Chelsea Ladies’ Player of the Year award).

She made 102 104 appearances for the England national team from 2004-2016 and competed at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China, 2009 UEFA Women’s Euro, 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, 2013 UEFA Women’s Euro, and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada (winning a bronze medal).

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she represented Great Britain. She previously played for Birmingham City, Charlton Athletic, and Chelsea in England’s Women’s Premier Super League. She played for Saint Louis Athletica, Atlanta Beat, and Sky Blue FC in the American Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) from 2009-2011.

After a short stint with Birmingham City in England’s new top-division league, FA WSL, she signed with Chelsea where she played from 2012 to 2018. A week after retiring from professional football in 2020, she was announced as the director of women’s football at Aston Villa.

In May 2021, she became the sporting director of Los Angeles-based Angel City FC ahead of their inaugural season in the American National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). While playing for England during Women’s Euro 2005, she took her A levels. She subsequently studied law at Brunel University, graduating with a first-class degree in 2008.

In May 2021, the University of Law (ULaw) awarded her an Honorary Doctorate. She played football for England’s Women’s Team and studied her LPC at ULaw’s Moorgate campus before qualifying as a solicitor in 2015.

5. Mrs Caroline Ann Joan Chadwick BEM - Director, Biomedical Services Unit, University of Birmingham. For services to Humane Animal Research

The 67 year-old is a devoted servant to the rights of animals and the advancement of science through laboratory animal research. She has shown exceptional dedication to promoting safe and humane practice in animal research.

In this sensitive area she has tenaciously advocated a proactive approach to best practice in the use and care of laboratory research animals, towards ensuring animals are only used in research when there is genuinely no alternative and to the minimum extent possible.

Working with the National Laboratory Animal Science Association (LASA), she has been a driving force in defining national policies. The 3Rs principles; Replacement, Reduction and Refinement are a code of practice for performing more humane animal research.

She played an instrumental role in promoting their implementation, proactively contributing to the development and 2021 launch of the 3Rs Self-Assessment Tools.

She conscientiously represented LASA, alongside the RSPCA and the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research on an internationally accepted passport scheme for the use in research of genetically altered mice.

Notably, she has driven best practice in the use of animals in the important and growing field of ‘healthy ageing’ research; a major health imperative, through her recent publication, she is raising awareness on maximising scientific knowledge without compromising on high-quality animal husbandry.

She established and co-chaired the Home Office Liaison, Training, and Information Forum which has facilitated sharing expertise and information and promoting best practice nationally.

The Forum realised her vision providing a crucial connection between scientists and regulators, and positively advancing the regulatory framework. Locally and nationally, she has promoted a transparent approach to the use of animals in research, encouraging informed conversation on this important topic.

This culminated in her being nominated for a National Understanding Animals in Research Openness Award in 2019.

She is a highly committed educator enabling understanding and compliance with the regulatory standards for animal research, frequently going the extra mile to provide educational and career opportunities to students in Colleges and Vet Schools nationally.

6. Rekesh Chauhan BEM - Birmingham Pianist and Composer. For services to Music, to Charity and to Mental Health in the British Asian community, particularly during Covid-19

The 32 year-old’s commitment to music and mental health has positively impacted over 1.2million people, particularly during the pandemic. He is also recognised as being a pioneer in making South Asian music accessible to thousands across the UK.

He does all this in a voluntary capacity (save for royalties and occasional performance fees for concerts) alongside a civil service career currently as an economic advisor in DLUHC.

During the pandemic, he recognised that many British Asians were deeply impacted by poor mental wellbeing. He worked proactively alongside the British Asian Trust in spearheading one of the largest South Asian mental health awareness media campaigns; providing advice and guidance to over 1.2 million people to better manage their mental health.

His efforts saw several thousand people heed to the call of action and obtain mental wellbeing support. Further in identifying the increasing number of suicide rates among young people, he was the architect of a media and press campaign which raised awareness of the negative impact of loneliness and isolation and how this could be linked to suicide.

His efforts saw the production and promotion of an innovative video which went viral, reaching over 50,000 people. His efforts directed young people to charities which he collaborated with such as the Princes Trust and the Royal Foundation resulting in a reduction in suicide rates during 2021.

He further used his ability to run successful campaigns to spearhead the inaugural GES Global Economics Conference where among the topics discussed, he championed the need for more young people of ethnic minority backgrounds to take the vaccine.

The conference saw an increase in the number of people from ethnic minorities taking the vaccine. Also, he is recognised as one of the UK’s leading musicians of South Asian heritage. He has performed at over 100 national concerts and programmes. As well as being very talented, he has voluntarily imparted his knowledge in his role as a mentor for the South Asian Music Youth Orchestra.

He has used his role to facilitate national workshops and summer schools; attracting 1500 people to develop their skills in the arts and learn about differing backgrounds which in turn has assisted in fostering closer community cohesion.

His commitment to D&I saw him voluntarily establish the DLUHC Hindu Network in 2018 which has assisted in providing support and pastoral care to over 300 Hindu staff members. His efforts saw him selected to sit as a senior board member for the Civil Service Hindu Network where he represents and advocates for the views of over 2000 employees.

7. Salma Bano Zulfiqar BEM - For services to Art and to Education in Solihull

The 49 year-old is an award-winning artist and activist, and the founder of the ground-breaking project ARTconnects. This began as a series of workshops in Birmingham, giving women a safe space to express themselves freely, and discuss their differences and what they have in common.

The objective is to promote integration, to bring people together and facilitate better understanding between cultures and ultimately create peaceful communities.

She has also delivered ARTconnects to communities in Greece and Paris. Since Covid-19, online workshops have attracted participants from the UK, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Europe and USA.

She aims to empower the women she works with and bring them into society, to show them they have something positive to contribute. She started this project alone - fundraising and driving the project herself, reaching dozens of women in a single year.

She supports the refugee community on a daily basis, and continues to support some of the most vulnerable women in Birmingham. These women are in dangerous situations - living on the edge of society in horrific situations. She bravely cares for these women and helps them to get out. The impact of her work and project is vital in combating extremism and isolation.

She supports the understanding of democracy, its obligations and rights, as well as counterbalances the misinformation available, for example on social media, with her unique arts classes. She dedicates her expertise and energy to make a positive mark in the community, and inspires many through her art projects.

She is a Muslim woman who is fearless and selfless, having travelled and lived in countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Chad and Kenya.

She was one of the first Asian women to travel to Afghanistan in 2000, during the Taliban reign, to cover underreported stories such as the devastating drought, which left many Afghans eating grass, displaced children dying of disease in camps, acid attacks on women and the massive maternal mortality problem.

Through her artwork connections, she has brought the issues of refugees to light. She was voted one of the most inspirational women to hail from Birmingham and received the national Rising Star Diversity Award from The Sunday Times in 2019.

Her artwork The Migration Blanket was exhibited during the Venice Biennale in 2019. She was presented with a Points of Light Award in 2022 for her service empowering refugee women through art.

8. Mohammed Fahim MBE - For services to the community in Walsall, West Midlands particularly during Covid-19

The 46 year-old arrived in the UK over twenty years ago as a refugee. With barely any support he integrated well into British society and rapidly began making a mark with his volunteering which he has done for over fifteen years with the underlying aim of ensuring that any future refugees that followed him would not have to undergo the experiences he went through.

He has volunteered to help refugees from all walks of life and assisted them in settling in Walsall. With like-minded individuals he set up the Afghan Welfare Centre which has been a crucial organisation particularly for the recently arrived refugees after the Taliban took control in Afghanistan.

He continues to support those left behind and helps connect recently arrived refugees to those they sadly had to leave behind. Within days of the refugees arriving, he took charge of a huge donation of £34,000 from a local charity and began distributing essentials nationally.

The Afghan Community and Welfare Centre has become an essential hub that is supporting not only local Afghan refugees but those from far and wide in the UK. His efforts have made the work of the local councils much easier as he has provided leadership and an essential bridge between councillors and refugees.

Over the last fifteen years he has become a highly respected Walsall citizen who the majority of the borough have come to know, respect and love. He works with other local organisations such as Walsall Outreach, The Glebe centre and One Hope foundation to deliver for several months over the COVID period hot meals to over 50 vulnerable families across the borough five days a week.

His daily work with refugees involves interpretation, registering them at job centres and helping children gain access into education. During the recent crisis he has worked tirelessly to raise funds and personally delivered essentials to newly arrived refugees.

This he has done, as always, by working closely with community and faith organisations. During the Covid-19 pandemic many individuals had their employment terminated causing significant subsequent loss of family income. He responded by offering digital community support, helping people via phone and video with applications for universal credit and other benefits available to them at this crucial time.

He continues to regularly respond to calls from the council and continues to lead a team of volunteers supplying food and prescriptions to the vulnerable using his own fuel for deliveries. Despite catching Covid himself he still drives his philanthropic work forward to decrease the pain and suffering of the people of Walsall during this crisis.

9. Colin John Preston MBE - Chief Executive, Shropshire Wildlife Trust. For services to Wildlife Conservation in Shropshire and the Marches

Since 1991, Colin has been Chief Executive of the Shropshire Wildlife Trust. In this role he has been a visionary pioneer and outstanding ambassador in the development of wildlife conservation in Shropshire and the Marches.

The 62 year-old was among the first to realise the opportunities of treating landscape conservation holistically, and today this approach is universally recognised. In his 30 year career, his vision, drive, and selfless commitment have resulted in the Trust developing into an outstanding agency.

He has led ground-breaking initiatives in his own Trust but also as an innovator and enabler across the partnership of 46 Royal Society Wildlife Trusts. In 2020, he oversaw the creation of the Wild Marches, a nature recovery network in partnership with Montgomeryshire, Radnorshire and Herefordshire Trusts.

From 2016 he led development of Slow the Flow, an initiative working alongside stakeholders and the Environment Agency to create natural barriers along the river Crove, work due to inform national flood prevention strategies.

He was truly exemplary in recognising the importance of broad stakeholder engagement to success. He was determined that the Trust’s work was inclusive, demonstrating how farmers and environmentalists can find common cause. In so doing, he helped create one of the first business environment networks in England to have conservation at its core.

As early as 1994, in partnership with Natural England and Forestry Commission, he spearheaded extensive habitat renewal of the Stiperstones, a complex area of exceptional heathland, with the re-establishment of purple heather.

He was key to ensuring that inclusivity was reflected in the organisation’s staffing structures and Board of Trustees with careful succession planning. He recognised the power of public awareness and potential of young people, with youth forums and young people’s question time with local MPs.

Thanks to his leadership, Shropshire Wildlife Trust is today highly respected as a major landowner in Shropshire for its carefully nurtured strategies and ground-breaking practices.

10. Jane Margaret Barker MBE - Founder, Perry Riding for the Disabled Group and the Cavalier Centre in Shropshire. For services to Charity and to People with Disabilities

The 73 year-old has dedicated her life to creating and running Perry Riding for the Disabled (RDA) Group since 1995.Initially running it from home with relatively humble facilities, from 2009 she led the 10-year search for a suitable site and sufficient funds.

Energising a team to raise £1.5m to build the world class Cavalier Centre which opened in 2019 and is now the permanent home of Perry RDA. All of the above was undertaken by her on an entirely voluntary basis. Over the years, hundreds of disabled children and adults have benefitted from riding, carriage driving, vaulting and hippotherapy through Perry RDA, and now the Cavalier Centre.

Jane has inspired and helped hundreds of people to get involved - young people being rewarded by acquiring skills to help them into employment; providing support and companionship for isolated people, supporting volunteering for those who otherwise struggle to access meaningful work; and offering life affirming opportunities to give something back to all volunteers.

Alongside running Perry RDA from home, she became an RDA Fellow and Senior RDA Coach and has assisted other groups in the UK and abroad including Romania, Hong Kong, and Dubai.

She has delivered papers at the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association and at the International Congress for Therapeutic Riding. She has also served on local and national Committees and her knowledge & experience has supported many volunteers to become capable coaches.

She wrote literally hundreds of letters and applications for funding and raised £500,000 in substantial donations of £10,000 or more, but almost more notable was the £500,000 donated in amounts of £1,000 or less. The support received by the project from children and schools was over £135,000, through physical challenges undertaken by school children.

HRH Princess Royal, when opening the centre, explained that the work Perry RDA had done with this project had created ripples throughout the UK RDA network and had opened eyes to what is possible.

She is an active member of the Board and raised over £100,000 in 2020/21 to help the centre survive the pandemic. The Cavalier Centre benefits hundreds of disabled and disadvantaged people each year, will continue to do so for many years to come and is a permanent legacy to an extraordinary lady.

11. Lorna Marie Millington MBE - Future Networks Manager, Cadent Gas, Staffordshire. For services to Business and to the Environment

The 50 year-old is a widely respected Chartered gas engineer with 25 years’ experience in the industry. She has spent the last 5 years working as the Future Networks Manager at Cadent Gas.

She leads gas industry projects that progress ground-breaking evidence related to re-purposing the gas network for hydrogen to allow for low carbon heating. This has been identified as one of the key strategic options to decarbonise our heat supplies and support the wider target of Net Zero by 2050.

She was the engineering lead for a pioneering project at Keele University that was the first to include a hydrogen blend into a modern UK gas network. She also developed the concepts to be tested in a ‘village-scale’ trial of using 100% low carbon hydrogen for heating.

Government is now selecting the location for this trial and she is leading on the network aspects of Cadent’s bid for a potential trial in Whitby. This trial will be critical in establishing the viability of using 100% hydrogen for heating across the country.

She has recently been asked to lead a board of colleagues from across the GB gas network to develop evidence on repurposing our gas networks to 100% hydrogen. Already she has gone great lengths to improve outputs, by improving transparency and developing concise strategies.

The scale and complexity of the challenge faced by her has been enormous. However, she built a reputation for applying the highest standards to her own outputs and constantly engages positively and openly, even where there is difference of opinion, and goes beyond expectations.

This has contributed to bringing both the gas industry and Government together to reach agreeable outcomes on complex technical issues. As a result of her hard work and determination, the evidence for the feasibility of hydrogen heating has increased with plans in place in line with Department for Energy & Net Zero priorities on net zero.

12. Suzanne Elizabeth Hutchinson MBE - Chief Executive, Little Hearts Matter in Staffordshire. For services to Children with Congenital Heart Disease

The 61 year-old is responsible for steering a small but very valuable and courageous charity whose mission is to reduce the isolation, fear and lack of understanding created when a child is diagnosed as having half a working heart.

When she joined the charity, she spearheaded the mission to provide the support and answers that were still so very lacking. This included a helpline, improving information for parents and a specialist antenatal support service for the 50% of families who had their diagnosis made during pregnancy.

The families are always at the centre - from offering direct support to families to making sure that their voices are listened to in clinical meetings.

Since those bleak early days, 25 years ago, the diagnosis, surgery and medical care available for children, and their families, has improved exponentially. Alongside this, under her excellent and well-connected leadership, the charity has continued to grow its reputation within the specialist paediatric cardiac arena as the go-to support resource.

Little Hearts Matter now has almost 4,000 members, with more families asking for help each week. Alongside the direct support to parents, the charity is also regularly called upon to give the patients’ voice within both high level medical and government bodies.

During the recent Congenital Cardiac Disease service reviews, she sat on the committee to determine the future of services in the UK. LHM remains part of the NHS England Steering Group, with Suzie being the key patient’s representative for any significant development.

She is highly respected for both her qualified views on treatments and care within hospitals, as well as her ability to obtain and convey the feelings of those who are on its receiving end. She writes all of the charity’s member support packs and NHS teams often rely solely on this information to explain diagnosis and treatment.

Even after being appointed Chief Executive, she has never relinquished her role as the charity’s Service Lead and still takes as many calls from members as necessary each day. Her hard work can be seen in the fact that sonographers now more routinely check for four chambers of the heart whilst maternity teams are more mindful of the likely symptoms of a baby in cardiac distress.

Her over-riding mission to enable families to access the best possible care for their children has also contributed to the growing number of hospitals now referring sick babies to centres of excellence with the expertise to help them survive.

As a result of concentrated care and growing expertise, more and more of these children are also surviving and the once limited lifespan for these youngsters is now more open-ended than it’s ever been. As a result, the charity now has thriving Youth and Adult Support Groups.

13. Karen Jane Lynch MBE - For services to Social Enterprise and to Charity in Warwickshire

The 54 year-old has impacted communities locally, across the UK and internationally including through her extensive achievements as CEO of Belu water which gives its profits to WaterAid’s transformative international work.

She took up her role as CEO of Belu in 2010.Under her leadership Belu became one of the best known and most awarded UK social enterprise brands and demonstrated how companies can put those in need & the environment first and be profitable.

It is found in many parts of the UK’s best eateries and bars and has a sustainable social enterprise model 100% funded through trading revenue.

During her tenure, Belu gifted more than £5m (100%) of profits to WaterAid, transforming the lives of more than 334,000 people through access to clean water and decent toilets, and received two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

Belu was the first (and remains the only) UK drinks business to achieve the independent British Standard Institute’s carbon neutrality standard. Throughout her career she has committed significant amounts of time and expertise in an unpaid capacity at respected voluntary sector organisations.

She is currently Vice Chair of Social Enterprise UK, as well as holding voluntary non-executive Director roles at social enterprises Homes for Good Glasgow and the Peach Pubs Foundation (which works internationally and locally and ‘pivoted’ to deliver meals to local communities in need during Covid-19).

She serves as an ambassador with the Warwickshire Lieutenancy promoting the Queen’s Awards. She teaches ‘your business, one planet’ as part of the small businesses programme at Oxford University, is an adviser to the UK Government’s Help to Grow programme and is an active mentor to social entrepreneurs through respected charity Expert Impact.

She has recently also taken on the role of CEO at Expert Impact on a part time basis. She stepped down from Belu in April 2020, and spent most of the pandemic volunteering at a national and a community level; mentoring social entrepreneurs online and stepping up her SEUK board role responsibilities to include crisis coaching of social enterprises.

In 2021 she developed a virtual conference series called Social Enterprise Futures, in recognition of the need for social enterprise leaders to come together to mark their achievements and resilience through Covid-19.

More than 800 delegates were able to share experiences and celebrate all that had been achieved by social businesses through the pandemic.

14. Delia Alexandra Button MBE - For services to the community in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Since she was 15, she has suffered from severe Multiple Sclerosis (MS) which has caused her to be wheelchair bound.

When she was diagnosed with MS, she became a major fundraiser for Helen Ley House which enables people with the most severe forms of MS to have time away from home and to give their carers a much-needed break.

Independently, she has raised over £100,000 by organising a myriad of events. Additionally, Delia, now aged 62, has fundraised for her local hospital by organising the Morris 1000 24 Hour UK Challenge, a sponsored drive from Land’s End to John O’Groat’s. She surpassed her target and raised £5,000 to provide mobile baby monitors for the Warneford Hospital.

When approached by a local paediatrician for fundraising support for the Neonatal Baby Unit, she quickly formed a committee and set up BabyBreathe. Alongside the committee she raised over £80,000 in 80 days by organising a charity auction, fashion show, ball and numerous other events.

Furthermore, in 1991 she set up Rufus’ Friend’s Fund in memory of her brother. For 30 years, the charity has supported families by giving grants of £35 to £450 to allow them respite. Her fundraising efforts go further afield than the local community. For example, after the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand, she coordinated a collection which raised over £6,000 to donate to the cause.

Since 2005, she has been a member of the Samaritans, volunteering every week at the Coventry branch supporting callers. The nature of the work can be very emotionally demanding, yet she demonstrates tremendous compassion, empathy and grace towards the callers.

She is an active and well-loved member of the branch supporting her colleagues and becoming an ambassador for the Samaritans by raising awareness through talks and outreach work, which has also led to her influencing others to volunteer.

She volunteers for Silverline, an organisation which supports lonely elderly people. Each week, she spends time chatting to those affected by loneliness.

15. Sally Jane Johnson BEM - Founder, The Harry Johnson Trust in Shropshire. For charitable services to People with Cancer

When her son Harry died in 2014 at the age of seven from a rare form of cancer, the 50 year-old managed to deal with her grief by using the donations from her son’s funeral to start the Harry Johnson Trust. The Trust supports youngsters and their families who are being treated for cancer at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Her ethos is to make fundraising fun, helping people feel good about helping local children who are being treated for very serious and life-threatening cancers where statistically 2 in 12 children diagnosed will not recover.

100% of money raised goes to fund projects such as Harry’s Hampers, Harry’s Hugs, Harry’s Holidays, Family Fun, Gift Vouchers whereby £112,000 has been spent to date, 434 Perfect Pillows and blankets donated in 2019.

Donations received totalled £3,500 in 2019 plus another £5,000 from the ward staff where they wanted to ensure this was used on funeral expenses for families with limited means.

Over 250 families have benefitted from her work, the biggest hurdle she faces is being able to meet demand due to the rapid rise in the number of children being treated. Without her kindness, empathy and generosity of spirit, these children with their families would have a very different experience whilst in hospital and following discharge.

The charity also helps fund the Beads of Courage programme at the hospital, which provides a physical journal for a child going through treatment. The beautiful outdoor garden she created off the ward offers a place for quiet time with a summerhouse, furniture, bikes etc. helping a child’s stay feel a little more normal.

She formerly acted as Head of Publicity for the annual Charity Christmas card shop in St Mary’s Church in Shrewsbury which raises around £5,500 each year.She will also organise a patchwork quilt or memory bear to be made from the favourite clothes of a deceased child, something their loved ones can hug and remember them by.

16. Marion Lynn Micklewright BEM - Founder and Manager, Shropshire Cat Rescue. For services to Feline Welfare

The 61 year-old has dedicated 30 years of voluntary support to helping animals and the people who care for them. She has managed and grown the Shropshire Cat Rescue (SCR) charity, scaling it from 6 to 130 volunteers and growing it from a total capacity of 6 cats to 120.

Her dedication to her unique sanctuary has led her to develop many different aspects of the SCR, including a hospital, a maternity unit, a charity shop and a café.

She also launched a retirement village for elderly cats who are not able to be rehomed due to reasons such as owners going into a care home. She is currently raising money for the “Big PURR project”, with her commitment to the cause meaning that £700,000 has been raised so far.

Her vision with this is to have a custom-built community centre, where animals and people work together through education, arts, well-being and volunteering. From 2014, she began forming partnerships with primary and secondary schools and runs ‘Book Buddies’, where children can improve their reading confidence by reading to cats in the Retirement Village.

She took over as editor of their charity newsletter, The Cat’s Whiskers, and innovatively turned it from a hand-printed paper newsletter to a glossy, photo-filled, and professionally printed newsletter. She also used the newsletter and a shop in 2010 to transform the charity’s approach to fundraising.

She has spearheaded a number of projects that have diversified the fundraising from car-boot sales to visitor donations, sponsorships, newsletter subscriptions, shop sales, cafe sales and legacies amounting to over £200,000 per annum.

In 2009, she also created work experience placements at SCR, helping students from disadvantaged groups to develop their skills in animal care. Her novel initiative offers a unique scheme of work tailored to each of the pupils’ needs, through activities such as basic husbandry of farmyard animals, feline health care checks and the construction of wildlife homes.

Under her management and vision the SCR has gone above and beyond supporting just cats and has established a number of community links and initiatives. She has recognised the issues associated with pet ownership in rented accommodation.

Over the last 20 years she has built working relationships with Housing Associations in Shropshire to encourage them to implement pet policies within their tenancy agreements. Her other successful initiatives include supporting animal welfare outside the shelter, by offering discounted neutering vouchers to cat owners on low incomes.

17. Eric Smith BEM - For services to Radio and to the community in Shropshire

The 71 year-old is a local radio broadcaster who has used his platform and position to assist a range of causes and charities in Shropshire, both through material support and through publicity and awareness. He has been a breakfast radio host on Radio Shropshire for over 26 years, from Spring 1994 up to his retirement in December 2020, during that time has gained a large following across Shropshire.

On his retirement, he had become the longest serving local radio host in the country. During this time, he has been instrumental in communicating vital public safety information to communities experiencing emergencies and disasters, including Covid-19 and local flooding.

He has covered eight general elections and chaired and moderated local political hustings; in this capacity he has been described by local political leaders from both major parties, including current and former local MPs, as fair, balanced and one of the ‘best impartial chairs of political hustings’.

Outside of election times, he is regarded as a trusted reporter and interviewer on local political issues, holding local policymakers to account and calling attention to issues of importance to local people. He has also used his platform to campaign for and promote causes he regards as important, most significantly his campaign to promote free testing for cancers affecting men.

Through his work on the radio, he has also gone beyond the requirements of the job to promote a variety of local cultural and charitable events, including arts events, theatrical performances and fundraising events to his listeners.

Aside from supporting them through publicity, he has also lent his profile, his personal efforts and his hosting skills to the running of many of these events. He has hosted and compared annual events in support of local charities such as Hope House Children’s Hospice and the Royal British Legion and he has been personally involved in the development of community cultural events such as Carols in the Square, which has run successfully for 22 years.

Most famously, he is a staple of the local pantomime scene, described by a local theatre manager as a ‘panto legend’, having appeared in over 1000 pantomime performances. He also provides his time, effort and hands-on support to local community groups such as ‘Crucial Crew’, which provides education to children and young people on important topics including safety and wellbeing.

In summary, he is someone who has made a profound impact on the people of Shropshire, both through his voluntary contributions and his reliable and much beloved presence on the airwaves, and whose commitment to the county and its people is outstanding and much appreciated by them in return.

18. Naomi Forrester-Soto BEM - Reader in Vector Ecology, Keele University in Staffordshire. For services to Public Communication during Covid-19

Her expertise in virology has been in high demand locally, nationally and internationally since the world came to terms with the impact of Covid-19.

The 44 year-old is a virologist who has worked on emerging viruses for the past 15 years. Having never given an interview she was identified as a suitable candidate when BBC Radio Stoke asked for an expert to answer listeners’ questions about coronavirus.

But what started as a one-off local radio interview snowballed into an expansive portfolio of media appearances, as she went above and beyond and shared her expertise on national radio and television, and internationally in print and online, reaching millions via prestigious outlets including BBC Newsnight, BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, The Guardian and Sky News.

These were often done outside of work hours, and sometimes at unsocial hours, and with her own family to look after at home.

Her media appearances now number at over 500, reaching an audience of more than 60 million people, and she has featured in more than 100 online articles, including two she wrote herself for The Conversation which have reached a huge audience themselves, being widely quoted and republished by media around the world.

The appetite for information early in the pandemic meant requests soon arrived from outlets including BBC Radio 5 Live and Sky News, her first TV interview, and by continued liaison between broadcast news producers and the Comms team, her interviews have continued throughout the pandemic, establishing her as an approachable, knowledgeable expert on both television and radio.

Through exposure to scientists like her in the media, people have gained a greater understanding of the scientific process throughout the pandemic, including the study of viruses and vaccine development.

Following her appearance on the BBC’s flagship Newsnight programme, when she discussed the continuing effects of Covid-19 which leave some people suffering long after infection, she was contacted by viewers who still struggle with the effects of the virus despite only having a mild infection.

This exemplifies the important role of academics in the media, which she hopes to continue.

19. Claire Bond BEM - Constable, Staffordshire Police. For services to Women in Policing and to the community in Staffordshire

Following life changing injuries she sustained on duty protecting the public in 2018, the 51 year-old has shown great determination, courage and drive to change the lives of others.

She has been inspirational in raising funds for local charities in Staffordshire and the West Midlands and national charities, which she called upon herself in her time of need, being a fantastic ambassador for the police service and the community she serves.

Whilst recovering in hospital, she became aware of the challenges faced by other patients in securing specific items.

She started collections from colleagues, friends, and local businesses to provide these small items to local hospitals and hospices for patients in need. This became even more important when the Covid-19 pandemic prevented visitors attending hospitals.

She became increasingly aware of the impact of poor mental health and psychological difficulties on wider health and wellbeing. She learned and practised techniques and strategies to help manage this. As she developed these skills, she once again looked around and saw the impact of stress, anxiety, and depression on her police colleagues.

She determinedly set about developing and maintaining health and wellbeing bulletin boards with information, advice, and key contacts in each local police station for her colleagues and set up health and wellbeing rooms to support officers experiencing psychological difficulties.

Committed to improving the lives of her colleagues, she ran sessions covering every station in the area, whilst still having significant difficulties herself. In her usual inspirational manner, she ‘recruited’ people who have been involved in her own rehabilitation programme to share their knowledge with others to deliver the content of these workshops.

A year after her injury, she took part in the same 10k event which caused her accident, in a wheelchair this time, raising significant funds for police charities and managed, with help from others, to walk over the finish line.

In 2020, due to the pandemic, she organised friends, family, and colleagues to walk with her, doing ten 1k walks to raise funds for the mental health charity (MIND), which raised thousands of pounds. She has continued to progress with her own rehabilitation, returning to work and working with new recruits, seeking out all opportunities to improve the lives of the future police workforce.

She has received awards and, on each occasion, she has used the opportunity to selflessly promote the needs and plight of others, raising both awareness and funds.

20. Frank Meakin BEM - Scout Leader, 59th Newchapel Scouts. For services to Young People in Stoke on Trent

The 71 year-old joined the 59th Newchapel Scouts in Stoke on Trent at the age of 13 and became a Scout leader at 18 years of age. He has selflessly sacrificed his time and energy for over 50 years to help young people find their potential.

What makes him different from other Scout leaders is that apart from delivering the sound principles of Scouting, he has always gone the extra mile to give his Scouts added strong social values and strength to take on the responsibilities of an adult.

This extra mile was a lot more than having three hours a week in the evening at the Scout meeting; he has regularly organised weekends and weeks away on adventure activities such as camping, hiking in remote areas, canoeing, orienteering, sailing, rock climbing, and backwoods weeks.

Learning through adventure was always a key theme with him and this has given his Scouts resilience, creative and independent thinking. On the backwoods activity he will take the Scouts to a wood to spend a few days/nights where they only have a tarpaulin, knife, sleeping bag, tin mug and basic food supplies. They must forage for apples, black berries, and maybe try to catch a rabbit; fortunately, he always had a pre-purchased one to share.

The objective is for the scouts to cook over an open fire and to build their own shelters from twigs, branches and bracken. Any free time is occupied by playing wide games when the group divides into two teams which try to outwit each other.

He organises fund raising activities such as cutting down trees and then selling the wood or doing odd jobs for his friends. This meant him sacrificing more of his time and energy.

The money earned would go to buy camping equipment, rock climbing equipment, and materials so that the Scouts can make canoes. At one time there were only a handful of Scouts in the 59th Newchapel Scouts and closure looked likely but he kept on going and now it is very successful with over 30 Scouts in the unit.

He has been doing the above for over 50 years and still is an unstoppable force helping children to become upstanding young adults.