DERBYSHIRE: County’s champions honoured in Queen’s list

Pictured is retired Muriel Kimmons who is believed to have been Derbyshire's longest serving teacher.
Pictured is retired Muriel Kimmons who is believed to have been Derbyshire's longest serving teacher.

Academics and community-minded heroes from our region have been recognised for their extraordinary contributions and achievements in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List.

Retired history teacher Muriel Kimmons, formerly of Netherthorpe School, Staveley, former Derbyshire County Council leader Andrew Lewer and Bakewell Rotarian David Rawson are among those announced on Tuesday who will receive the Queen’s prestigious honours.

Professor Pamela Shaw, of Bradwell, is to be honoured as a Dame Commander of the British Empire for her work in neurology at Sheffield, and Sheffield University’s Emeritus Professor Anthony Crook, of Hope Valley, is to receive a Commander of the Order of the British Empire title for services to housing and charitable governance.

School children in Staveley will be congratulating retired Muriel Kimmons who is to receive a Member of the British Empire award for services to education after 52 years of teaching.

The 75 year-old, of Ashgate, Chesterfield, retired in 2013 from Netherthorpe School which claims she could be the longest serving teacher in the county.

Assistant Netherthorpe School headteacher Peter Bamford described her as a remarkable teacher whose energy, inspiration and enthusiasm never waned.

He said: “She has been a constant inspiration to countless students and she always sets the very highest of standards. She is held in great affection by her colleagues at Netherthorpe and we wish her a long and extremely well deserved retirement.”

Mrs Kimmons, who taught history as well as English and geography, worked at Dronfield Secondary School for 26 years and was at Netherthorpe for 12 years.

She said: “I’ve loved teaching. Netherthorpe School has been like a family to me.”

Rotary Club of Bakewell member David Rawson, 77, is to become a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire after he has worked as a full-time volunteer on community and charity projects.

Fellow rotarian Derek Harrison said: “He’s the hardest working person I have ever met. He knows everyone in Bakewell and he’s the most delightful, pleasant person you would ever wish to meet. He really deserves this honour and I’m so pleased for him and his wife Tina who helps him with all his good work.”

Mr Rawson, of Bakewell, helps organise events, outings and visits for the elderly as well as a charity duck race. His other achievements have included Christmas street decorations, panto outings and charity street collections. He has also been a key contributor for the Aquabox Project which helps deprived and disaster regions suffering with pollution.

Derbyshire County Councillor Andrew Lewer, the former county council leader from Carsington Water, is to become a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to Local Government.

He said: “It’s come as a complete surprise. I feel very honoured. I think it’s for a combination of my time as leader and for my current role as Deputy Chairman of the Local Government Association.”

Cllr Lewer is currently the Conservative opposition leader to the Labour-led council which was voted in during 2013 and he is planning to stand as a candidate for the European Parliamentary Elections in May.

Professor Pamela Shaw, Professor of Neurology at Sheffield University, becomes a Dame after she has been described as an outstanding clinical scientist whose discoveries have led to a much better understanding of motor neurone disease. Her research has led to over 300 publications.

She led the development of the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, a state-of-the-art dedicated research facility, which is already becoming an international centre of excellence for basic and applied research in neurodegenerative disease.

Professor Crook, of Hope, is Shelter chairman and Orbit Housing Group deputy chairman and receives his CBE for services to housing and charitable governance.

Joyce Ellis, 65, of the High Peak, becomes a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to music and youngsters.

The former opera singer is the founder and musical director of the internationally famous High Peak’s Kinder Children’s Choirs which provides opportunities for youngsters from all backgrounds and abilities with a choral outreach programme and school involvement.

Others from our region to receive honours include the following:

Officers of the Order of the British Empire awards go to volunteer Marilyn Baldwin, of Chesterfield, and Geoffrey Miller, of Chesterfield. Mrs Baldwin receives her honour for her work with Metropolitan Police Service and as founder of the Think Jessica Campaign with services for families and victims of mass marketing fraud.

Geoffrey Miller, national selector for the England Cricket team, receives his honour for services to cricket.

Members of the British Empire awards also go to the following: Michael Anthony Baker, ACPO senior strategic manager at the Organised Crime Co-ordination Centre of Derbyshire Constabulary, for services to policing and tackling organised crime; Raj Kumar Bali receives the same honour for services to inter-faith relations in the East Midlands. Anthony James Coffey, teacher and director of learning for performing arts and multimedia, Landau Forte College, Derbyshire, receives the same for services to education.

Buxton Mountain Rescue Team president Ian Hurst also recently received his MBE in the HM Queens Birthday Honours from June for his work with rescue services in Derbyshire.

For the first time since the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917, there are more women on the list than men with 51 per cent making up those listed to receive awards.

The re-introduction of the British Empire Medal has also provided greater opportunity to recognise more people for playing their part in local communities.