Yorkshire's stalwarts named in Queen's Birthday Honours

Life-savers, community stalwarts, business leaders and many more from across Yorkshire has been included in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

By John Blow
Friday, 07 June, 2019, 17:10
Dawda Jatta is the founder and CEO of BAMEN, a community organisation promoting recycling, energy-saving, local food production and environmental education training programmes to BAME groups in Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire. Pic Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The list has been released this evening, prizing some of the region's most hard-working people.

Culture and heritage

Michael D'Arcy Benson, who has worked to keep York Minster in good finances. James Hardisty.

Long-serving Stalwarts of heritage and culture in Yorkshire have been recognised for their inspiring efforts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Julie Kenny CBE, the self-made Rotherham businesswoman whose relentless five-year campaign saved Wentworth Woodhouse for the nation, is to be made a Dame.

As the chairwoman of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, she is an unpaid volunteer who now receives the second-highest honour in the land for her crucial role in securing the future of the Grade I-listed Georgian stately home in Rotherham.

Her determination enabled the trust to purchase the mansion, its stables, riding school, camelia house and 83 acres in March 2017 for £7million following a campaign backed by SAVE British Heritage.

Julie Kenny. Picture: Scott Merrylees.

“I am amazed and humbled to receive this honour,” said the 61-year-old.

“Many times I saw in people’s eyes that they thought it could not be achieved. But my view is that nothing is impossible with time and energy and belief.

“And I passionately believed the house could become a beacon, its beauty drawing people from all of the world. I knew how proud that would make the people of Rotherham feel about their heritage again, and that jobs and skills could be created for young people.

“But the fight tested everything I had learned throughout my business life.

“It took hard work, stamina, focus and negotiation skills and above all the resolve to persevere and never to give up, even when the going got tough - and then extra tough,” added the mother-of-three, who founded a security system manufacturer in Rotherham and was awarded a CBE in 2002 for her services to industry in Yorkshire and the Humber.

She added: “There were many people that helped me along the way and this award recognises our joint achievements.”

Elsewhere, inspirational educator, author, arts, heritage and charity campaigner Mel Dyke is affectionately known in her hometown as ‘Mrs Barnsley’.

Now she can put an MBE after it. The 82-year-old retired teacher started out as a bank worker and, despite not having a degree, she went on to teach for 27 years, becoming a deputy head, a teacher training lecturer and guest lecturer at Emory University Georgia and UCLA.

Mel - Marlene - of Staincross, was a miner’s daughter and also used real life stories of high achievers from the pit town to help raise aspirations - detailed in her books such as

Grimethorpe Revival: Famous Faces Support a Coalfield Community.

As well as being a prolific patron of the arts in Barnsley and South Yorkshire, she was also a teacher at Athersley Lawrence Briggs Infants, Darton High School and The Oaks in Kendray, and a deputy head at Grimethorpe’s Willowgarth High School.

Of her MBE, the mum-of-two who has five grandchildren and a great-grandchild, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. I am also genuinely surprised. Culture and the arts have been a big part of my life. I’ve used the stories of high achievers from the town to help inspire others - to dream realistically.”

Meanwhile, East Yorkshire businesswoman Katie Taylor has been given an MBE for services to the economy and community in Yorkshire after established Drewton’s Farm Shop on The Drewton Estate near South Cave in 2010.

She buys from a network of more than 250 Yorkshire-based food producers, farmers, growers and suppliers.

Soap star

As the longest-serving character on Emmerdale, Christopher Chittell needs no introduction to the people of West Yorkshire.

But now the actor, best known for his role as Eric Pollard in the Leeds-based soap, can add the title of BEM to his list of achievements after being awarded it for services to drama and charity.

While the Mytholmroyd man has played the character since 1986, he has also received recognition for his charity work, including unplanned visits to ill fans, benefit cricket matches and raising over £2.5 million for charity.

In 2015 he undertook the Three Peaks challenge with Jack Marshall, a youngster who suffers from Moebius syndrome, a condition which severely affects balance and coordination.

After hearing of a terminally-ill fan of the show whose biggest loves were Chinese and Emmerdale, he organised for the delivery of her favourite takeaway during the show, with a note saying ‘With love from Eric Pollard’.

Life-savers

The efforts of mountain and sea rescue workers from Yorkshire have been recognised in the honours.

Huddersfield man Mike France, 67, has been awarded an MBE for services to Mountain Rescue.

In 1970 he joined Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team and he later joined the Peak District Mountain Rescue Organisation (PDMRO) as their chairman and operational leader in the late 1990s.

Due to his experience he was elected as Chairman of Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team from 2002 to 2005 and also became the national fundraiser officer. As chairman of Mountain

Rescue England and Wales he is reviewing and modernising the approach of the organisation.

He said: “There’s that comradeship, there’s a bond and sense of wellbeing when you do rescues.”

Among the many jobs Mr France has been involved with was the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.

Raymond Gray, of Beverley was given an MBE for services to search and rescue in the UK and abroad.

Richard Dunk, from Bridlington in the East Riding, meanwhile, gets a BEM for voluntary service to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Business

Business leaders in North Yorkshire are set for a trip to meet Royalty after earning honours.

Bishopdale man David Poole, a member of the Lower Wensleydale Business Network, was awarded for services to business, skills and the community in Wensleydale.

He had a successful career as managing director of a number of large international electronic companies and latterly managing director and deputy chairman of Thalis Plc.

Since his retirement he has used his knowledge to help his local community.

He has been a driving force in the reorganisation of the network, a membership organisation supporting new and existing business. His efforts have increased its membership to over 70 companies.

Mr Poole has also taken a lead role in the organisation of such high profile events as the Dales Festival of Food and Drink, which since 2002 has generated surplus funds for the benefit of local community, the Leyburn 1940s Weekend and the Leyburn Christmas Festival.

Also awarded an MBE was Edwin Neesom, the chairman and managing director of Hunprenco Ltd, for services to exports and to the rural economy in North Yorkshire.

Human interest

When Dawda Jatta landed in Hull, the place he now calls home, he knew that he wanted to help keep it looking and feeling its very best.

Mr Jatta came to the city in 2006 from The Republic of Gambia and said it looked just liked the University brochures he had seen, and wanted to maintain that cleanliness.

He never expected to be awarded an MBE for Recycling and Energy Saving.

“I’m over the moon at the moment, it came as a surprise to me," he said.

"When I started this project in 2013 I didn’t know anything about this, I was just doing something I was passionate about.”

He is the founder and CEO of BAMEEN - a community organisation promoting recycling, energy-saving, local food production and environmental education training programmes to black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups in Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire.

Mr Jatta has forged partnerships with the local authority, community and environmental groups, including Black History Partnership Hull and the Open Door Project Hull, to deliver a range of projects to help educate and train the local BAME community on health, sustainability and energy cost reduction - subjects which he says were low on their priority lists.

He has delivered help to reach around 2,000 people face-to-face and through training he has provided to frontline workers, who come into contact with “vulnerable consumers” as part of their activities to educate them about switching energy suppliers.

As a Big Energy Saving Network (BESN) champion, over the past three years he has consistently produced excellent results, exceeding targets set for outreach and exceeding requirements set for the programme by integrating switching advice with the wider package of help available through BAMEEN.

He has also led BAMEEN to worked on an NHS-funded project to raise awareness of diabetes, urban agriculture training to promote nutrition, healthy eating and cost reduction and he has also run an Introduction to Engineering course for unemployed women.

Mr Jatta, 45, said: “Since I came to this country I’ve been to other places but I’ve always been in Hull - it’s home to me now. Anything I can do to promote the community, I will, especially to do with cleaning the environment and making sure we live in a nice and suitable environment.”

He thanked all the volunteers and organisations who have helped him.

Kathryn Fielding, of Kippax, has been given a BEM in the list of accolades.

Speaking about her honour, given for services to Goalball and Blind and Partially Sighted People, she said: “I’m really grateful but what I do, I do for fun and enjoyment.”

She began working for the Federation of Disability Sports organisation in 2003 as a development officer with responsibility for blind and partially sighted people in sport, supporting hundreds of people.

Miss Fielding, now 41, then became the Great Britain Goalball assistant coach in her spare time.

In 2010 she began working with Goalball UK as an independent consultant, volunteering as an assistant referee at the London 2012 Paralympics in the goalball competition.

She has led the development of goalball across all home nations in the UK, supporting the 36 clubs that are running. Before she began her work, there were less than 10.

The Everton FC fan also planned and led the first ever Goalball UK Home Nation competition in 2018.

She developed a goalball coaching qualification that she has delivered to more than 2,000 people over the past six years as well as visual awareness training to more than 1,000 people.

In her spare time, she coaches goalball across Yorkshire, including the West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire clubs in Leeds and Sheffield.

She has managed fundraising events for Goalball UK - perhaps the most notable being a coast-to-coast bicycle ride with blind and partially sighted participants that raised over £12,000.

Miss Fielding compares the success of goalball to that of women’s football, which has seen a major rise in recent years.

“My own personal sport has always been football. [Growing up] women’s football at the time was limited. I saw parallels there with goalball.”

Goalball was invented in 1946 to help rehabilitate veterans who had lost their sight during the Second World War.

The object of the game is to throw a ball past the opponents and into their net to score points. Players stay on their hands and knees to defend their net and score against their opponents.

Participants must wear opaque eyeshades at all times ensuring fair competition.

All international athletes must be legally blind, meaning they have less than 10 per cent vision, and are classified as a B3, a B2, or a B1 – totally blind.

Teams are made up of six players, with three members playing at any one time.

Dr Lorraine Whewell is clear about her life philosophy: “My belief is that we were put on this earth to help one another.”

By putting this into action, she has now been awarded a BEM for voluntary service in the UK and abroad.

And though she is “very honoured and very humbled,” she still has “no idea” who nominated her.

For more than 20 years she has been involved in a charity called White Rose and along with fundraising, she has travelled to Romania with furniture, clothes and bedding for locals.

Dr Whewell, 74, of Kirkstall, achieved funding to employ workers to care for abandoned babies in an orphanage and residents of an elderly peoples home, where refurbishments were carried out.

For over two decades she has been a member of Yorkshire Ladies Council for Education, which promotes women’s education, providing financial support to a number of women annually.

“It’s something which I’m very keen on, that women fulfil their potential,” she said.

“I was very fortunate that my parents, though not having [much] education themselves, struggled and kept me in to school at 18.”

Dr Whewell mentors women and created pop-up cafes to raise money for the domestic violence charity Leeds Women’s Aid.

And for the past 12 years she has run a lunch club that she set up in Headingley.

In addition to all this, she served as a magistrate at Leeds Magistrates Court for 24 years, in the last three years as chairwoman of the bench until 2014.

She paid tribute to her parents Marion and James Churchill, husband of 45 years Richard, and sons David and Alexander.