Shropshire's pandemic heroes recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Heroes of the pandemic have been recognised by the Queen for their selfless efforts throughout the crisis.

Clockwise from top left, Trevor Bate, Mandy Medlyn, Nigel Dugmore and Dr John Alexander.
Clockwise from top left, Trevor Bate, Mandy Medlyn, Nigel Dugmore and Dr John Alexander.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours list reflects the crisis that has engulfed the nation and the world over the past 15 months – commending some of the county residents who have stood up and made a difference to their communities.

From people who volunteered to deliver prescriptions, to respiratory experts who have been key to the treatment of the virus, the honours showcase those who have been key in helping the county battle through some its darkest days.

Market Drayton consultant respiratory physician Martin Allen, 64, has been awarded the MBE for “services to the NHS – particularly during Covid”.

He has been part of the British Thorasic Society respiratory clinicians team tasked with rapid responses to the evolving problems posed by Covid-19.

In Telford both Trevor Bate and Councillor Nigel Dugmore have been recognised with British Empire Medals (BEM) for their efforts during Covid.

Amanda Medlyn, manager of the Red house Community Centre in Albrighton for 19 years also receives the BEM for her services to the community.

Alan Olver, 71, the chief executive of Telford homeless charity Maninplace has received the MBE for his services to the homeless. Peter Williams, of Worfield receives the MBE for services to sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis, in his role as chair of Wolverhampton and District MS Therapy Centre.

There is also space for one of the county’s celebrities, with Ironbridge’s Jay Blades receiving the MBE for his services to craft. A favourite on BBC show The Repair Shop, he has been recognised for leading the movement to save dying crafts.

Shropshire heroes saluted

Trevor Bate from Telford will receive the BEM for his services delivering prescriptions to the community during Covid.

The community response to the pandemic is a feature of those recognised by Her Majesty, and no one was more proud to be included than Telford security guard Trevor Bate.

Mr Bate, 55, from Hollinswood, spoke of being overwhelmed and humbled at learning he would be awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) – specifically for his services during the pandemic.

As the lockdown hit in March last year and people became aware of the impact Mr Bate immediately put himself forwards as a volunteer with the council, the police, and the NHS.

He took on the role of delivering prescriptions during the day – up to 60 a day – and continuing working on his night shift as a security guard.

Joined by his wife, Louise, and friend, Robert Cotterill, who also delivered the prescriptions, what had started as just helping those in Brookside and Stirchley expanded across the town.

It remains one of the symbols of the pandemic as scores of volunteers stepped up to ensure people would still have shopping, or vital medicine.

Speaking of his pride, an emotional Mr Bate said: “I am just absolutely humbled. I received the email a few weeks ago and I thought it was a wind up. It so difficult to explain how overwhelming it is.

“You never, never as a normal everyday Joe expect anything like this.”

Mr Bate, who has also delivered food to those who need it during lockdown, said that his only drive had been to help the community.

He said: “I have always, all my adult life, been into community and I have tried to be there for the good of the community.”

He added: “I suffer with anxiety and I never want to make a big thing but it became a distraction for me from my anxiety and I just threw myself into it. I was working full time and what I could not get delivered during the day I would go out early the following morning and do."

Pharmacist Nigel Dugmore, at Donnington Pharmacy

Telford pharmacist Nigel Dugmore has also received the BEM, for his services to the community during Covid, running his Donnington Pharmacy.

The award specifically recognised the setting up of a team of volunteers to support shielding and vulnerable patients – as well as ensuring the delivery of more than 3,000 prescriptions.

Mr Dugmore, who is also a Telford & Wrekin borough councillor, also shopped for patients, while his pharmacy has remained open seven days a week – with him working six – throughout all the lockdowns.

Councillor Dugmore, 59, said he was hugely proud at the recognition, and added that while the award was in his name, it was the pharmacy staff whose efforts had made it possible.

He said: “It is not often that pharmacy and pharmacists are recognised. The only downside is it comes to a named individual. It is all part of the team – they have been fantastic, no one has been off sick, we have kept everything going. They have all worked so hard keeping us open 100 hours a week.

“The facility was there to reduce the hours but we did not do that, we kept on going.”

Councillor Dugmore, who is married to his wife Lisa and has three children, said he was “stunned”, when he received the news.

The pharmacist, who has also delivered thousands of vaccinations, said he had found out by email and had kept the news quiet from everyone, including his family.

Dr John Alexander

John Alexander, 63, from Loggerheads, has received the MBE for his efforts as a consultant in paediatric intensive care at the University Hospitals of North Midlands.

His award specifically recognised his efforts at Royal Stoke Hospital to improve the care of critically ill children and young people in the West Midlands region over 25 years.

One major achievement has been the introduction of a system which consistently improved early identification of sick children – improving outcomes.

Mr Alexander said he had been taken aback when he discovered that he would be receiving the MBE.

He said: “I was a bit shocked. I do think that although it has got my name on it, it is a reflection of the care given by the team. It is all the team I work with at Royal Stoke Hospital and wherever I have worked on local or regional projects it is about the team and everyone working together.”

Dr Alexander, who joined Stoke in 1997, also praised the efforts of the team in changing the children’s intensive care unit at the hospital into a Covid ward twice in the past 15 months.

He said: “Our children’s intensive care unit in Stoke was switched to look after adults in March last year and again in January this year – from looking after babies we were looking after adults with Covid, and that was a team effort. Everyone pitched in.

“Luckily children were not as badly affected by Covid and so when the adult services were getting overwhelmed we were able to step in.”

Mandy Medlyn at the Melville Club in Albrighton

There is always someone at the heart of every community. In Albrighton, that is Amanda Medlyn.

The 60 year old has been the manager of the Red House Community Centre in Albrighton for 19 years and recently became the chairman of the Melville Club in the village which was in decline, but with Amanda’s help, has since been turned around.

Amanda, known as Mandy around the village, will be receiving the BEM as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021 List, and said she still isn’t over the shock of being told.

“It was so lovely to be told,” she said. “I’m still in shock to be honest.”

The Red House Community Centre was recently awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, and Amanda has diversified the range of skills and activities available, such as introducing computer skills for the elderly.

When lockdown was announced, she converted the Parish Flyer (a local minibus) into a mobile shop within two day, which visits the elderly, vulnerable and disabled members of the community daily, and she has raised over £11,000 to keep it stocked with groceries and fresh food.

With the help of a small team of volunteers she has also been cooking and delivering meals to shielding members of the community. As well as distributing food parcels for the local church, she regularly performs prescription deliveries to assist the overwhelmed pharmacy.

“People like me don’t get things like this you know,” Amanda said. “It’s just fabulous.

“I am shocked but very honoured that somebody has put me in for it - you just do these things every day to help people, you don’t really think about it.

“I couldn’t have done it without the rest of the volunteers at the Red House and the Melville Club, and my partner, Ken West.”

Martin Allen

A consultant respiratory physician has been awarded an MBE for his services to the NHS, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Martin Allen, who has worked at Royal Stoke University Hospital for 25 years, is also national specialty adviser for physiological measurement, overseeing national work around the diagnostic tests which assess the function of major organ systems, such as audiology to test hearing and balance, and their workforce.

His specific remit is for cardio-respiratory diagnostics.

During the pandemic he has worked nationally and was one of three physicians to determine the correct use of novel drugs to manage Covid-19.

The 64-year old, from Market Drayton, also wrote two national NICE guidelines for Covid-19 and co-authored a document which reviewed how hospitals could provide good care during Covid-19.

He said: “It’s great to be recognised as an individual and I’m delighted, but it’s also good for UHNM and for Stoke as an area to have a local senior clinician recognised for national work.

“Respiratory medicine was hit really badly during Covid but the respiratory support units helped to protect and manage care and worked innovatively.

“They also helped to support intensive care units.”

Alan Olver, left, with David Shelmardine of the Rotary Club of The Wrekin

A stalwart for the homeless was “lost for words” at hearing he is to receive an MBE. Alan Olver, 71, is the voluntary chief executive officer of Telford’s Maninplace, and he received the shock news when he was on holiday in Ledbury with wife Catherine.

“We were sitting outside and there was a change in the weather. I took my phone out to take a picture and an email pinged. I thought it was just an invite to a garden party, but my wife said ‘I think you’d better check again’.

“I was absolutely lost for words, it took me completely by surprise. It took my breath away to be honest.”

Alan has dedicated his life to supporting homeless people after he found himself without a home aged 16. His project, STAY is still, after 30 years, one of the largest providers of supported housing for vulnerable and homeless people in Telford and Wrekin, helping 150 homeless people at any one time, alongside Maninplace.

He leads funding initiatives such as the annual ‘sleep outs’, so people can experience the severity of sleeping rough, if only for one night. He also developed the KIP project to provide an immediate response; food, clothing, advice, support and shelter for rough sleepers and non-statutory homeless people, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Many of the people he has assisted have themselves been trained as support workers, so achieving employed status. He believes passionately that employment is a critical factor in helping maintain stable accommodation, along with addressing addiction, substance misuse and debt.

Alan is hopeful that he will be able to meet the Queen, having met her and the late Prince Philip at a previous garden event he was invited to, although some of the recent honours ceremonies have been held locally due to Covid-19 restrictions.

He added: “I couldn’t have done it without the support of so many people over the years.”

Peter Williams

Businessman and dedicated charity campaigner Peter Williams is being made an MBE for services to sufferers of multiple sclerosis.

Mr Williams, 88, is the chairman of Wolverhampton and District MS Therapy Centre which he helped to pioneer 35 years ago as a member of the Wolverhampton Rotary Club.

The group initially raised funds to purchase a vehicle for the city’s MS society as the then rotary president Walter Turner suffered from the condition and was chairman of the local MS branch. The rotarians subsequently expanded the vision to the creation of a treatment centre in 1986 at the site of a former chandelry in Newbridge, Tettenhall.

Mr Williams, also the chairman of the family-run suit hire company Peter Posh, said: “It is very nice to be nominated. I got what I thought was a strange phone call and I did actually hang up on the person from the Cabinet Office. My wife told me to call them back.

“It was a nice surprise, but I do feel that this is for the centre which needed to be recognised in some way.We had been hoping for acknowledgement from the volunteers viewpoint.

“We have 20 volunteers who attend to give oxygen treatment to those who need it. I am very pleased that the centre has been recognised for the service that it provides.

“It is definitely a success story.”

Over the decades Mr Williams has spearheaded mammoth fundraising efforts of hundreds and thousands of pounds, including a £340,000 project to extend the facilities, in Tettenhall Road, in 2012 with the help of the late cricketer Rachael Heyhoe Flint.

He personally raised more than £8,000 with a sponsored slim and personally supervised the centre’s early operation. Since then he has devoted his time to selflessly raising funds in excess of £100,000 per year to keep it up and running.

He lives in Worfield near Bridgnorth with wife of 63 years Val. They have three children, Chris, Duncan, and Mandy, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RJAH) and The League of Friends RJAH said they were thrilled and delighted to offer their warmest congratulations to Susan, Lady Trevor, who has been made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to healthcare charities.

List of local honours

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE):

  • Sophie Clodagh Mary Blain (Sophie Andreae) – For services to heritage

  • Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE):

  • Eleanor Deanne Therese Alberga – Composer and pianist. For services to music

  • Roger Bernard Eaton – For charitable and voluntary services

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE):

  • Dr Martin Brent Allen – Consultant respiratory physician at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust. For services to the NHS particularly during Covid-19

  • Jay Blades – Furniture restorer, designer and presenter. For services to craft

  • Alan Leslie Olver – Voluntary chief executive officer, Maninplace. For services to homeless people

  • Glen Perkins – Founder and volunteer, Action 4 Ashes and Shrewsbury Street Pastors. For services to the community in Shropshire.

  • Peter Williams – chair, Wolverhampton and District MS Therapy Centre. For services to sufferers of multiple sclerosis.

  • John Alexander – Consultant paediatric intensive care, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust. For services to critically ill young people

  • Angus Bartaby – pilot instructor with the Army Air Corps at RAF Shawbury. For services to the Army Air Corps

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEM):

  • Trevor Thomas Bate – For services to the community in Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire during Covid-19

  • Nigel Arthur Dugmore – Pharmacist, Donnington Pharmacy. For services to pharmacy and the community in Donnington during Covid-19

  • Amanda Jane Medlyn – For services to the community in Albrighton, Shropshire

  • Violet Ann Mclellan – Assistant day services manager, learning difficulties (Castelly Dail), Powys County Council. For services to adults with learning difficulties

  • Dyddanwy Lydia Jean Pugh – Office manager, Welsh Parliament. For public and political service

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