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New Year's Honours: Shropshire and Mid Wales people recognised

Oswestry | News | Published:

A former Shropshire GP who helped transform the way patients are treated in their final months has been appointed an OBE in the New Year's Honours.

Dr Keri Thomas

, who founded the UK's largest provider of end-of-life-care training, is credited with improving the lives of a million people.

She set up the Shrewsbury-based Gold Standards Framework, which lays down nationally recognised standards for organisations which provide care for people approaching the end of their lives.

OBE

Dr Keri Thomas, from Shrewsbury. For services to end-of-life care.

Michael John Foy, from Market Drayton: Regional head for the Midlands and North West Free Schools Capital Division Education Funding Agency. For services to Education.

Parkash Singh Dhami, from Telford: President, Telford Gurdwara. For services to charity and Community Cohesion.

MBE

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Thomas John Kelly, from Whitchurch: For services to Charity Fundraising.

Ms Mary Elizabeth Quinn, from Leominster: Education consultant and lately executive principal at Stourport High School and Sixth Form College Stourport-on-Severn. For services to Education. (

Michael Gerrard Roughan, Chairman of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Leicestershire and Rutland Adoption Panels. For services to Children and to the community

Mrs Elaine Spalding, from Ludlow. Higher Executive Officer, Ministry of Defence. For services to Defence.

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John Stewart Walker, from Newport. For services to Archery.

Mrs Sheila Mary Bruce, from Oswestry. For services to the community in Kinnerley.

Queen’s Fire Service Medal

Christopher Davies, Chief Fire Officer, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Dr Thomas said she was delighted to be given the honour for services to end-of-life care.

"It's a wonderful honour, I haven't really taken it in yet," she said.

"I hope it will raise awareness of what we do."

Dr Thomas was working as a GP when she became unhappy about how the NHS treated people in their last few months.

She formed the not-for-profit Gold Standards Framework 17 years ago, which set down a series of criteria for end-of-life care, and delivered training courses for both NHS and social care staff.

Dr Thomas, who is 60, is also an honorary professor in end of life care at Birmingham University, and has written books on the subject.

Chief executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green, said: "Keri Thomas is one of the most influential figures in palliative care and, through her development of the Gold Standards Framework, she transformed end-of-life care in many care homes, hospitals, and primary care services.

"The passion and commitment shown by Dr Thomas over many years, as a clinician, thought leader and champion of palliative care, has made a real difference to countless lives, and she is truly deserving of this honour. "

Gold Standards Framework is based in St Austin Friars, Shrewsbury, and teaches GPs, care homes and hospital staff how to identify people approaching the final months of life, engage them in conversations about their wishes and preferences and then plan and manage their care on that basis.

It is responsible for training in about 2,500 care homes and 84 hospitals around Britain, and lays down nationally recognised standards of good practice.

It also provides training in countries as far afield as Australia, Canada and Japan, and has been approached about improving end-of-life care services in China, where 119 million people are over the age of 65.

Anne Keating, managing director of Gold Standards Framework, said: "Keri's determination, vision, and expertise have had a huge impact on end of life care, overseeing the training of staff in more than 3,000 care homes, 80 acute hospitals, 40 community hospitals and dozens of GP surgeries.

"She is humble in her approach and yet has affected the lives and deaths of millions of people in this country for the better."

Dr Thomas is married to retired vicar the Rev Mark Thomas, and has five children.

She was formerly national clinical lead for palliative care in the NHS end of life care programme and clinical expert in end of life care for the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Also honoured with an OBE is Parkash Singh Dhami, 77, who has been the president of Telford Gurdwara for the past 18 years.

He was instrumental in setting up the Gurdwara in the 1960s and was nominated by his family for his hard work.

His son, Rabinder Singh Dhami, says he hopes the honour will inspire future generations living in Telford.

Rabinder, 46, who works for Shropshire Fire and Rescue, said "He was very pleased but I think he is a little bit overwhelmed.

"He is never one for publicity and things, but I felt, personally that it would be an inspiration.

"With smaller communities like ours, they only work if everyone comes together and I think something like this will inspire the future generation.

"He acknowledges the work he has done but he always says he wouldn't have been able to do it without the help of others who may not be recognised and wanted to thank all the people that have supported him."

Parkash came to England from India in 1963 and was involved with the local Sikh community straight away.

He initially worked at a factory in Shifnal, moving after two years to GKN Sankey in Hadley where he worked for 20 years before setting up his company.

His son said that when he first came to England he would help other young men who may have been illiterate or did not speak English and needed help with things like buying homes.

In 1968 he helped buy the land for the Hadley Gurdwara, now the main Sikh temple in Telford and has held roles within it from its inception until current day.

Rabinder said: "When he retired they asked him to be president.

"There have been big extension projects and he has helped with funding for the works, supplies for the builders even down to shovelling up and cleaning up afterwards, he is very hands on.

"He as also been involved with charity, there was an appeal for the Tsunami, collections for the PRH, not just within the Sikh community."

"He was also instrumental in setting up the annual Vaisakhi procession."

Parkash lives in Hadley with his family and also has two daughters and a number of grandchildren.

"As a family we are very proud, he has always instilled the value into us that everyone will do something for themselves but it is more important to do things for others.

"He does feel very passionate about the work that he does.

"He says that as long as he can still do things, he will do."

Meanwhile, four years ago Paralympic double gold medallist archer John Walker had never even fired an arrow.

Today he is ranked number one in the world and will be honoured with an MBE for his services to the sport.

He said it had been an unbelievable journey.

"I'm absolutely over the moon," he said. "I didn't expect this at all."

John had no pre-warning about the award, instead finding out about the achievement through the post.

He said: "We just got the letter from the PM saying she'd nominated me for the MBE. I just couldn't believe it when I saw it. I had to read it four or five times to come to terms with it.

"It's been an unbelievable journey. To be where I am now, it's absolutely unbelievable.

"I'm now ranked number one in archery and have won two gold medals at Rio. It's been a fantastic journey.

"Now the Queen will send me a letter to find out when I've go to pick it up. It's something I'm really looking forward to."

The 42-year-old took up the sport after being inspired by London 2012. He designed a device that would help him shoot after seeing other disabled people taking part in the games.

Councillor Sheila Bruce has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the community in Kinnerley.

She said she had been completely surprised by the announcement.

"There are so many people in rural communities that are every bit as deserving of such an award," she said.

Councillor Bruce served as an Oswestry Borough Council member from 1999 until it was dissolved and has been a Kinnerley Parish Councillor since 2002 and a former chairman.

One of the councillor's major interests over the years has been fighting for affordable housing in villages in the countryside.

She is a governor at the village primary school, is a committee member of the village hall and is involved in the parish church.

She also co-ordinates the area's annual poppy appeal for the Royal British Legion.

Councillor Bruce and her late husband moved to Kinnerley in the early 1980s.

"I enjoy being involved in the community. Local people were so good to be after the death of my husband and this is a way that I can say thank you."

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