Shropshire unsung heroes recognised in New Year's Honours

After a year blighted by the pandemic many of Shropshire's residents have been recognised in The New Year's Honours for their efforts to support the community, charity, music, sport and the Covid response.

Chairman Roland Wycherley

Shrewsbury Town Football Club - Official Photocall Season 2012-2013
Chairman Roland Wycherley Shrewsbury Town Football Club - Official Photocall Season 2012-2013

The New Year's Honours list includes 14 Shropshire residents, all selected by the Queen for their contributions to society.

Roland Wycherley, chairman of Shrewsbury Town Football Club has been recognised as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to the community in Shrewsbury.

Mr Wycherley said: "I am extremely proud, honoured and delighted to receive this award, which was totally unexpected."

He has been a director of Shrewsbury Town Football Club since 1992, became chairman in 1996 and is currently one of the longest serving chairmen in English football.

Athlete Kelda Wood, who set up the charity Climbing Out after a life-changing leg injury will also be awarded the honour.

Lynne Bradley, from Ludlow, Senior Plant Health and Seeds Inspector at the Animal and Plant Health Agency, will receive the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to plant health.

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Other recipients of the MBE are Aston-upon-Clyne sculptor Halima Jade Cassell, for services to art, and John Michael Kirkpatrick of Bishop's Castle for services to folk music.

A number of residents have been commended for their service during the pandemic, including Sarah Clarke, Director and Lead Nurse of the Adult Critical Care and Major Trauma Operational Delivery Networks in Cheshire and Merseyside.

Mrs Clarke, from Hodnet, receives the MBE for services to nursing and to the Covid-19 response.

David and Jennifer English, of Shrewsbury, directors of English Care Limited have both been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Social Care during the Covid-19 response, while June Walker, Community Champion at Asda in Donnington Wood also receives the honour for her services to the economy during the pandemic.

June Beharrell, of Bayston Hill, who has raised around £200,000 for charity will also receive the BEM, as will Oswestry's Malcolm Farrar, a road safety officer with Shropshire Council, who has been recognised for his services to education, and Jane Jervis of Shrewsbury for voluntary and charitable services.

Other recipients of the BEM are John Fraser MacLean, recognised for services to the community in Shrewsbury, and Patricia Sharpe, from Shrewsbury, for services to British Gymnastics.

Sarah Clarke

Sarah Clarke from Hodnet has been given an MBE in the New Year Honours for her services during the pandemic.
Sarah Clarke from Hodnet has been given an MBE in the New Year Honours for her services during the pandemic.

Mrs Clarke explained that during the Covid-19 outbreak, she worked seven days a week and set up a database to ensure people could see at a glance every patient in critical care across the region, their needs, equipment and staffing.

Her work also involved setting up daily calls with medical directors to agree how best to move patients across the region, ensuring they got the right care at the right time.

Mrs Clarke, who qualified as a nurse 40 years ago, said the recognition had come as a big surprise.

She said: "I feel excited and pleased. It's a big honour.

"I found out around the start of December.

"It was a big shock. I was not expecting it at all."

Mrs Clarke, who also helped to co-ordinate the response to the swine flu outbreak, added: "We needed really accurate information every single day about how many patients were in critical care and if we had any spare capacity.

"We used that information to move patients around the system when we had to.

"During swine flu we worked up to the point where operations had to be cancelled. This time we started from that point."

Mrs Clarke specialised in critical care nursing early in her career.

Trained in critical care at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, she experienced nursing in all critical care specialties barring burns, and in private and public healthcare.

After five years abroad in Johannesburg and Riyadh, she returned to the UK to get married.

Kelda Wood

Kelda Wood, who will receive the MBE for services to charity

Ms Wood, 47, from near Shrewsbury, had her dreams of becoming an Olympic horse rider ended after an accident in 2002 left her with a serious leg injury.

Since she has retrained as an outdoor instructor and set up the charity Climbing Out, which helps young people who have been through life changing mental or physical trauma.

The five-day outdoor activity programme offers funded places to enable participants to rebuild their confidence, self-esteem and motivation.

Ms Wood has also represented Great Britain as a member of the GB Paracanoe squad and was selected as a member of the Adaptive Grand Slam Team climbing Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America. In January 2017 she became the first recorded adaptive female to summit the mountain.

In December 2018, she set off to row solo across the Atlantic with the aim of inspiring others, raising awareness about mental and physical trauma, and raising more than £50,000 for Climbing Out.

Ms Wood said the honour was a reward for the people that had helped her get to where she is today.

She added that she was only sorry her father was not alive to see her receive it, having died just 11 weeks before she found out.

She said: “There are many people who have played a part in my journey, but there are four in particular who stand out as being fundamental in shaping my path. They have nurtured, mentored and supported me and I feel this MBE isn’t a reward for the things I’ve done – it’s a reward for them – for giving me the opportunities that have brought me to this point. So I’d like to say a big thank you to Marc Woods, Jo Hampton, Dave Bunting and Martin Hewitt."

She added: "I would also like to dedicate this honour to my dad, who sadly died just 11 weeks before I found out about the MBE. He was always very quiet and reserved, but he really showed me how to be the person I wanted to be. I would have loved for him to know I received an MBE and I hope it would have made him proud.”

Patricia Sharpe

Patricia Sharpe who has received the British Empire Medal for her services to gymnastics.

Patricia Sharpe, from Loppington, received her BEM for services to gymnastics.

An elite trampoline coach and charity fundraiser Mrs Sharpe has been linked to British Gymnastics for 40 years.

Known as Tricia, she was the founder of the pioneering Recoil trampoline club in Essex. It was developed at a cost of £376,000 after she embarked on a 12-year fundraising regime to raise the funds to create an all-round centre which focussed on the needs of the high performance bouncer as well needs of the disabled and those with learning difficulties.

Mrs Sharpe retired to the county with her husband David, and is still an active trustee of the registered charity which operates the popular Trampoline and Activity Centre, in Brentwood.

She said: "It feels surprising and exciting to be nominated for the BEM, but I also feel very humble that my life's work has been recognised in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

"This is what I do and I get enormous pleasure from it. It's wonderful to be nominated".

During the course of her career she has also been been a competition judge and was selected to be a torch bearer ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games, in London.

She has grown up children Daniel, 36, Erin 33, Cara, 30, and stepchildren Kaye-Lani, 31, and Richard, 29, as well as three grandchildren.

June Beharrell

June Beharrell has received the British Empire Medal for her services to charity.

June Beharrell, 82, and her family have raised around £200,000 for charity over the years, including around £145,000 for the Severn Hospice – it is those efforts that have seen her nominated for the BEM.

Mrs Beharrell is a well known face in Shrewsbury, having spent years collecting at the town's market hall.

Her late husband Gordon raised more than £70,000 for charity and after his death in 2009 she pledged to continue his work, aided by the efforts of their four sons.

The pandemic has stopped her from visiting the market hall but not one to be deterred she has set up an online fundraising page which has raised nearly £900 since it was set up.

She said it was an honour for her family, and the people of Shropshire, who she said were "amazing" in their generosity to charity.

She said: "We have collected about £200,000 from donations. It is amazing really. The people of Shropshire are wonderful at donating. I have become friends with lots of them at the market and it is so important. It is something I really enjoy and I hope I can get back there soon. I would go back tomorrow if they would let me."

Mrs Beharrell said she was surprised to receive the honour, but proud, and she also offered her thanks to Kate Gittins, manager of Shrewsbury Market Hall for her support.

Norma Ross, director of income generation at Severn Hospice, congratulated Mrs Beharrell on her honour.

She said: “On behalf of everyone here, I congratulate June on her wonderful news.

“It is always pleasing to see extraordinary local individuals recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, especially when they are like June, who has consistently gone the extra mile and won the hearts of their community.

“We are immensely proud of June and her family, who all give so much of their time and a huge commitment to supporting our patients through their fundraising efforts.

“I must also thank all those Shrewsbury Market Hall shoppers who take the trouble to drop something into June’s tin as they pass.”

June Walker

Asda Donnington Wood Community Champion, June Walker, who has received a British Empire Medal for her efforts during the pandemic.

Mrs Walker, who has received the BEM for her work as Asda Community Champion in Donnington said she was thrilled at the news.

She said: "When I received the news telling me I had been nominated for this award I was simply shocked.

"The news has been difficult to keep a secret due to the people I meet and speak to daily.

"I feel very humbled as I am just doing my job, but it really is a complete honour to be recognised for bringing the community together.

"I never thought I'd be nominated for an award from the queen, it doesn't get much bigger than that.”

Mrs Walker has worked at Asda for nearly 12 years and in her role as a Community Champion she has supported youth clubs, schools, and nurseries with donations of products to keep them afloat.

She regularly donates food and water to schools and nurseries for lunches and after school activities to ensure no child will go hungry whilst at school.

In addition, Mrs Walker was able to secure a grant worth £500 to a children’s holiday group, allowing them to purchase vital supplies to support children throughout the summer holidays.

Since schools have returned, she has been supporting applications for further grants to help schools get back on track and support vulnerable children.

Before the pandemic she would visit schools and nurseries to support with education, such as cooking skills and the importance of health eating.

Due to the current situation she has not been able to visit schools this year, so instead has embraced technology to run video calls with holiday groups and after school clubs.

Jane Jervis

Jane Jervis, who has been recognised with the BEM for voluntary and charitable services in Shrewsbury.

Jane Jervis, who has been recognised with the BEM has a long history of fundraising.

She said her recognition owed much to the generosity of those who had donated.

She said: "Whatever I have done I have enjoyed doing, and it has involved the generous help and support of scores of wonderful people many of whom equally deserve to be recognised."

Her efforts, which have amounted to many thousands of pounds included a role as Marks & Spencer’s Charity Committee Chairwoman organising events to raise money for the likes of Lingen Davies, Hope House, and other good causes.

Since 2005 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Mrs Jervis has tended to raise money for breast cancer charities, through every type of event from golf days to dinner dances at the Lord Hill and the Sovereign Suite at Shrewsbury Town Football Club.

She is also the founder, chairwoman and organiser of the Breast Cancer Care Lottery Luncheon Club that raises money for the breast cancer surgeons at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals.

Mrs Jervis has also supported the trustees at the County Showground by helping to organise the weekly Car Boot.

She added: "The best part of the car boot, just like with all of the events I have been involved in – is meeting so many people who over the years have become good friends."

‘Incredible’ recognition for long-serving town clerk, 70

Robert Robinson is made an MBE

A former council clerk said he was “astounded” to learn he had been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Robert Robinson, 70, will receive the MBE for public and voluntary service in Powys.

Mr Robinson, who lives in Llanfair Caereinion, served as clerk of Welshpool Town Council for 13 years.

He has held a number of roles in other organisations across the county, including with the Scouts, the Montgomeryshire MS Society, and the Cambrian Railway Line Committee, amongst others.

Mr Robinson has also been part of the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway since 2003, and is currently a trustee and director.

He also carries out a number of roles such as looking after volunteers, projects, checking signals and operating as a station manager.

During his time at Welshpool Town Council Mr Robinson played a major part in a number of projects, including the running of the Welshpool Air Show.

He said he was honoured but shocked to receive the recognition.

He said: “I was astounded. When I opened the letter I thought it was absolutely incredible.”

He added: “Firstly no-one achieves anything on their own, it is always a group of people and I happen to have been part of these groups. I have worked with some wonderful people in Powys.

“Second, without my lovely wife Frances behind me then none of this would happen, she has been so supportive.

“And also it is important to remember you do not get it all right. When you are as active as I have been you probably get 90 per cent right and 10 per cent you don’t. You do your best and you can do no more than that.”

Other Powys residents recognised include Cathy Knapp, who receives the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the arts in Powys.

Mrs Knapp set up the Mid Wales Art Centre in Caersws. The centre features the work of her late husband, the enamellist and sculptor Stefan Knapp, and has provided a showcase for artists to display their work. The centre also hosts workshops and live events.

Jeanne Olive Nuttall, of Llanidloes, who is Head of Service for Nutrition and Dietetics at Powys Teaching Health Board, will also receive the BEM, in recognition of her services to dietetics and nutrition in Wales.

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