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CBEs in Birthday Honours for Ronald Blythe and The Archers’ June Spencer

23 June 2017

Church Times

Ronald Blythe CBE

Ronald Blythe CBE

WRITERS, clergy, teachers, and charity workers are among the churchpeople named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The cookery writer Delia Smith CBE has been appointed a Companion of Honour, for services to cookery; she is a Roman Catholic who has been open about her faith and prayer life and written several popular religious books.

Dr Ronald Blythe, the writer and former Church Times columnist (“Last word”, 12 May) who has given long service as a Reader in parishes on the Essex-Suffolk border, has been appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to literature. The most famous of his many books, Akenfield, was made into a film.

Also among the CBEs are Ian Bauckham, the chief executive of the Tenax Schools Trust, a mixed C of E academies trust that serves seven community and church schools in Kent and East Sussex; and, in the week of her 98th birthday, the actress June Spencer OBE (Peggy Woolley for many decades in The Archers on Radio 4), for services to drama and charity; she has been a leading supporter of funding research into Alzheimer’s (Back Page Interview, 20 December 2010).

The singer-songwriter Keith Getty has been awarded an OBE for services to music and modern hymn writing. The 42-year-old was born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, but now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Kristyn, with whom he writes many of his songs. His most well-known hymn, “In Christ Alone”, co-written with Stuart Townend, is one of the most frequently sung hymns in UK churches and was voted second best-loved hymn of all time in a BBC Songs of Praise survey.

“Hymns are the most perfect expression of being part of the Church Universal,” he said this week. Irish hymns, those written by Martin Luther, the Psalms, revivalist hymns, and those of the Salvation Army, each reflected “the strength of that generation, and we as Christians in the 21st century need all of them. People who starve themselves of historic hymns, as well as those who starve themselves of contemporary songs, are genuinely starving themselves of something that is rich and wholesome and helpful.” 

Keith Getty OBE, co-writer of “In Christ Alone”

A former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Very Revd Dr Lorna Hood, has been appointed OBE for her “exceptional and long service to the Church of Scotland and promoting tolerance and understanding” through the Scottish board of the Remembering Srebrenica charity.

An OBE was also awarded to Jan Fishwick, the chief executive of the Oxford Diocesan Council for Social Work, known as PACT: Parents And Children Together, for services to adoption. Since her appointment as chief executive in 2008, Pact has has become one of the largest voluntary adoption agencies in the UK, and has placed 762 children with a new family. She said: “Notification of the award came as a great surprise to me, as much of the work that Pact and CVAA [the Consortium of Voluntary Adoption Agencies] undertake involves extensive team working and collaboration. Having worked in the rewarding world of social care for more than 40 years, I have considerable respect for my dedicated colleagues and for the beneficiaries we serve.”

There is also an OBE for the baritone and composer Roderick Williams, who is well known to audiences at the Three Choirs, as well as for his work in opera.

The Receiver General and Canon Treasurer of Winchester Cathedral, the Revd Annabelle Boyes, is awarded the MBE for services to the Church. “This award is very well deserved and it is good to see Annabelle’s commitment and dedication to the Cathedral and to the wider Church being honoured,” the Dean of Winchester, the Very Revd Catherine Ogle, said.

Among recipients of the OBE in the voluntary-schools sector are Simon Bramwell, CEO of the the Bolton-based SS. Simon and Jude C of E Primary Academy Trust, and Gill James, head teacher of St Mary’s C of E (Aided) Primary School in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent.

Among those appointed MBE are Meryl Homer, manager of St Alphege Church of England pre-school and the Little Treasures and 2’s Group in Solihull, West Midlands, for services to early-years education; and Penny Roberts, founder and chair of governors of St Luke’s C of E School in Hampstead. Opened in September 2011, St Luke’s is the UK’s first Church of England free school.

Education work overseas was also recognised with an MBE for Akuja De Garang, team leader of Girls Education South Sudan (GESS). This UK Aid-funded project has provided grants for classrooms, lavatories, and books for 3500 schools in the world’s newest country, which is being torn apart by civil war (News, 7 April 2017). De Garang received her MBE from Prince Charles on Saturday, becoming the first British-South Sudanese recipient.

Also among the MBEs are Deborah Shelley, centre manager of the Bootle Team Ministry, for services to the Church and the community in South Sefton, Merseyside; and Canon Anthony Shepherd, a former Vicar of St Peter’s, Harrogate, and director of the Yorkshire Causeway Schools Trust, for services to the Church and the community in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

The Revd June Vaughan began the Aberfan Young Wives Club at the town’s Zion Methodist Church in response to the disaster that took the lives of 116 schoolchildren in 1966. The club has met weekly for the past 50 years and has raised thousands of pounds for good causes. Her MBE is for services to the community in Aberfan, Young People, and the Red Cross.

In the overseas list, there is an MBE for Alfred Reoch, former Chief Commissioner of Gibraltar Scouts, for services to Gibraltarian Scouting, the Anglican community, and drama.

Among recipients of the British Empire Medal are Sister Olcan, a member of the Roman Catholic Order of the Cross and Passion, honoured in her secular name Annie Watt, for services to peace and reconciliation. Until her retirement, she worked at the Drumalis Retreat Centre, where she established The Tuesday Group after the paramilitary ceasefires in 1994, bringing together local clergy and lay members from across the denominations.

Others receiving BEMs include the Revd Jane Legh, associate priest of St Cuthbert’s, Doveridge, and chaplain to the Order of St John in Derbyshire, for voluntary service in the county; and Judith Powell, a member of the congregation of Christ the King, Meltham, in West Yorkshire, for services to Operation Christmas Child in the parish.

The awards also recognise interfaith relations, including an MBE for Nitin Palan, the co-founder of the annual Diwali On Trafalgar Square event; and Imam Monawar Hussain, who receives his MBE for services to interfaith relations and the community in Oxfordshire.

There were ten civilian awards for gallantry, including a George Cross for Dominic Troulan for saving lives during the Westgate Shopping Mall terrorist attack in Kenya in 2013. In addition, four fire-fighters and 17 police officers received the Queen’s Fire Service and Police Medals in recognition of their for distinguished service.

A posthumous George Medal has been awarded to PC Keith Palmer, killed in the Westminster terrorist attack. His funeral was recently held at Southwark Cathedral (News, 13 April).

PAThe Rt Revd Lorna Hood OBE, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland

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