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Jubilee honours for Paul Oestreicher, lifelong peace activist

01 June 2022

Charity workers and churchpeople recognised in the Queen’s Jubilee Birthday honours


Canon Paul Oestreicher speaking in front of St Paul’s Cathedral during the Occupy protest in October 2011

Canon Paul Oestreicher speaking in front of St Paul’s Cathedral during the Occupy protest in October 2011

THE veteran peace campaigner Canon Paul Oestreicher has been appointed OBE in the Jubilee Birthday Honours list, “for services to Peace, Human Rights and Reconciliation”. He is a vice-president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and a former chair of Amnesty International UK.

Canon Oestreicher, who is 90 and lives in New Zealand, contributed to the Church Times Jubilee issue (Comment, 27 May).

In tribute to the Queen, recipients have been rewarded for their outstanding contributions in all sectors, but in particular for sustained public service, service to the environment and sustainability, and youth engagement.

The oldest person of the 1134 recipients is Angela Redgrave, the founder and Principal of the Bristol School of Dancing, who is 104 and is awarded the British Empire Medal for services to dance. At the other end of the spectrum, BEMs are awarded to the 11-year-old twins Elena and Ruben Evans-Guillen, who have raised £50,000 pounds for the NHS and related charities, and to 22-year-old Alex Griffiths for supporting carers, having been a young carer himself from the age of five.

Three people were made Companions of Honour: Sir Salman Rushdie, for his services to literature; Sir Quentin Blake, for services to illustration (“a national institution and the doyen of his profession”); and Dame Marina Warner, for her service to the humanities (“profoundly involved in the cultural and educational life of the country . . . a pioneer for women’s roles”).

The author Ian Rankin receives a knighthood for services to literature and charity, and the Labour MP Stephen Timms (Interview, 30 July 2021), who is chairman of Christians on the Left, receives a knightood for political and public service. The actor Damian Lewis is among the CBEs, awarded for services to drama and charity for initiating the campaign to raise £1 million to provide food for NHS workers throughout Covid-19.

The Prime Minister said in relation to the list: “This historic Platinum Jubilee is not only a celebration of the monarch but of the qualities she possesses. The honours she confers this week reflect many of those qualities that have been invaluable from all different walks of life and two communities across the UK.

“I pay tribute to all of this year’s winners. Their stories of courage and compassion or an inspiration to us all.”

Arlene Foster, the former First Minister of Northern Ireland, is appointed DBE, as is Dr Ruth Rosemarie Beverley (Ruth May), a regional chief nurse, whose leadership response to the Covid-19 pandemic was described as exceptional. “She brokered agreement across the four nations, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and trade unions to ensure agreement and consistent messaging.”

The Rt Hon Maria Millar MP is another DBE. The citation notes: “She was instrumental in introducing legislation for same-sex marriage in England and Wales, and successfully piloted this historic bill through the House of Commons; one of the most notable achievements of the Coalition Government.”

Knights Bachelor include Professor Michael James Paul Arthur, “a committed advocate of access to university for the disadvantaged and of driving equality and diversity”; and Professor Stephen Huw Powis, who has served as the National Medical Director of NHS England: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, he demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for leadership in support of the interests of the NHS, the medical and clinical community.”

Another Knight Bachelor is Pascal Claude Roland Soriot, who “has led from the front in AstraZeneca’s (AZ) response to Covid-19. He spotted the Government’s urgent need for more Covid-19 testing capacity, and offered to build a national testing centre capable of 100,000+ tests a week. . . Core to this work has been his personal undertaking that there be fair and equitable access to the vaccine at no-profit to AZ.”

His is one of many awards recognising work during the Covid-19 crisis. The Vicar of Cross Green and Richmond Hill, in Leeds diocese, the Revd Darren Percival is awarded the BEM “for services to the community”. Fr Percival ensured that, during the pandemic, his church’s work remained visible. One of its works was the setting up of a food hub at St Hilda’s — the 17th poorest parish in the country — for the wider area.

Diocese of LeedsThe Vicar of Cross Green and Richmond Hill, in Leeds diocese, Fr Darren Percival, is awarded a BEM “for services to the community”

He said: “I am honoured and proud to think, as the parish priest of a community such as this with poverty and social deprivation, that it has been recognised. At the end of the day, I enjoy getting my hands dirty for God. You don’t do it for personal recognition or a higher place in heaven.

“In this Jubilee year, it is very special to be honoured by the Defender of the Faith.”

The director of music at St Mary’s, Ross-on-Wye, in the diocese of Hereford, Mark Sanderson, is awarded the BEM for services to the community. During the pandemic, Mr Sanderson developed an online platform that enabled services and other church events to be streamed online, the BBC reports. He also trained clergy in how to use streaming technology.

Douglas Samuel, who runs the Spartans Community Football Academy, transformed the Academy into a food-distribution hub during Covid-19, and is appointed MBE.

“As ever, community service is the bulk and backbone of the list, and breadth of service is recognised across the entirety of the UK,” the formal announcement says. Una Cleminson, who chairs the Royal British Legion, is appointed OBE. So are Rupert Whitaker and Martyn Butler, who founded the Terrence Higgins Trust, which marks its 40th anniversary this year.

MBEs include Maralyn Bambridge, a minister at Wivenhoe Congregational Church, lately a Christian church pastor and founder of Engalynx, for services to supporting vulnerable women and children in Rwanda. She founded the charity after researching the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The Revd Clive Beckenham, the founder and chief executive officer of the New Life Home Trust, is appointed MBE for services to abandoned and vulnerable children with HIV in Kenya.

Nigel Hyde, the founder of Mission Direct and chief executive of Home Leone, Sierra Leone, is appointed MBE for services to international charitable work helping the poor and homeless, particularly in Sierra Leone. “The problems that people face daily are the worst he has seen on earth . . . a place where death comes early to many,” the charity says.

Prudence Dailey, a member of the House of Laity for Oxford diocese, is appointed MBE for services to the Prayer Book Society, which she chaired until recently. She said: “This honour acknowledges the public standing of the Prayer Book Society and the importance of its past and ongoing work.”

The founding chief executive of the Christian charity Hope for Action, Ed Walker, is appointed MBE for services to tackling homelessness.

In Scotland, an NHS chaplain, the Revd James Falconer, is appointed MBE for services to parent and child bereavement and to the community in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, and Moray. The Revd Mervyn Gibson is awarded MBE for services to the community in Northern Ireland.

BEMs are awarded to the co-founders and trustees of the charity Sarvashubhamkara, Bernard Davies and David Manners, for services to leprosy sufferers and their children in India and Nepal. Jim Campbell, who runs the Friday Fridge, a café-style foodbank at St Jude’s, Southsea, is also awarded the BEM for services to the community. For services to church-bell restoration in Cumbria, a BEM is awarded to Ronald East, who is the Carlisle diocesan adviser on church bells. In the Church of Ireland, Robert Robertson is awarded the BEM for services to St John’s, Fivemiletown, in County Tyrone.

Sportspeople are represented in the list: MBEs are awarded to Gold Medal winners at the Beijing Olympics: the four members of the curling team are appointed MBEs, and their skipper OBE. The Paralympic super-G skier Neil Simpson, and his guide and brother Andrew Simpson, join the MBEs.

There are 673 recipients of an award who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities either in a voluntary or paid capacity. There is an almost equal balance between men and women, and 13.3 per cent of the successful candidates come from a minority-ethnic background.

Recipients of the Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service include Karen Marie Geddes, the first black female to attain the rank of chief inspector in the West Midlands Police, who is described as an “active, credible advocate for policing. . . As a black female officer, she has had to show real resilience in a force that has not always understood change. She has made a real difference to policing and there are few in policing who deserve more credit.”

Another recipient is Victoria Rose Washington, lately Detective Superintendent in the Metropolitan Police Service. As the lead in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) in 2011, she pioneered work to stop girls’ being taken out of the UK through Heathrow. In a UK first, she secured agreement from nine airlines to take action to identify girls vulnerable to FGM.

Ian MacDonald, a constable in the Northamptonshire Police and an experienced dog-handler, is commended for his “unfaltering bravery, resilience and determination to seek justice, save lives and protect people from harm. . . He also saved the life of one of the police dogs in his care, when they collapsed in extreme weather conditions. He was able to get urgent medical attention to the dog and he survived the incident, testament to his love and respect for the dogs he works with.”

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