New Year’s honours galore for South Yorkshire heroes

L-R Charlene White (Awards host), Anne Wilson of Numill (winner business woman of the year) and
L-R Charlene White (Awards host), Anne Wilson of Numill (winner business woman of the year) and

Community stalwarts, politicians, police officers and business people are all recognised in the New Year’s Honours.

A Rotherham woman who has dedicated her life to championing the rights of black, Asian and ethnic minority women across South Yorkshire has been awarded the MBE.

Zlakha Ahmed has been awarded an MBE for services to Women's Rights and Community Cohesion in South Yorkshire

Zlakha Ahmed has been awarded an MBE for services to Women's Rights and Community Cohesion in South Yorkshire

Zlakha Ahmed, aged 52, of Gerard Road, received the award for her services to women’s rights and community cohesion.

Ms Ahmed set up Apna Huq 21 years ago in Rotherham to improve black and minority ethnic women’s access to safe accommodation, education, legal advice and social activities to prevent isolation.

Over the years, she has helped hundreds of woman get the confidence to disclose domestic abuse, rape and sexual violence to the police.

She said: “I’m very humbled to be recognised in this way.”

Engineering entrepreneur Anne Wilson has received an MBE for her services to the industry.

The daughter of a Manor Park bus driver and canteen cook who left school at 16, she is now managing director of niche tool reclamation firm Numill Engineering.

Mum and grandmother Mrs Wilson retrained from banking after her mum died, taking night school classes alongside work and joining Numill on Balaclava Road as a book-keeper in 2000.

She became commercial manager, then bought the company in 2006 and saved it from the recession and then grew it overseas.

Doncaster MP Rosie Winterton has received a Damehood for political and parliamentary services.
She was made Opposition Chief Whip under former Labour leader and Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband and continued in the post when Jeremy Corbyn became leader.

She said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured.”

Political stalwart Dr Spencer Pitfield said his CBE was a ‘truly wonderful honour’.

The dad-of-three received his honour for political service as a volunteer to the Conservative Party.

Dr Pitfield, 46, who teaches music at Birkdale School and lives in Ringinglow, said: “It’s a truly wonderful honour – it doesn’t quite feel real at the moment.”

A leading figure in Dronfield’s St John Ambulance has been awarded the British Empire Medal.

Sybil Naylor, from Dronfield, has been a volunteer for more than 30 years and spearheaded a fundraising campaign to buy the charity’s Crusader ambulance in 2000.

She rose through the ranks to the position of Divisional Superintendent before retiring from the position in June.

Sybil put her skills to the test as a first-aider when she helped an off-duty police officer who was stabbed while dealing with a street fight in 2008.

She ran outside, identified herself as a first-aider, and battled to stem the loss of blood from 48-year-old Detective Sergeant Kevin Walton until paramedics arrived.

Former police officer and father-of-three Paul Brown, from Doncaster, has been awarded the British Empire Medal.

The 60-year-old, of Burgwallis, who retired this year, worked in the mounted section for 32 years, becoming a recognised expert, helping to advise and develop new staff as well as numerous public order commanders.

He said: “I was just in complete disbelief when I received the letter. It’s just a complete surprise. When I got the letter I thought ‘is this really for me?’.”

Paul was nominated for the outstanding courage he has displayed in policing some of the most challenging events locally, regionally and nationally, including the Bradford riots and high-profile football matches such as derby clashes between Sheffield Wednesday and United.

Police Constable Zuleika Payne was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal to mark her contribution to policing in South Yorkshire.

University of Sheffield Professor Paul White has received the OBE for services to higher education.

He retired as the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor last year but remains part of the Department of Geography.

Prof White said: “I am surprised and delighted by this award and the external recognition it brings.”

A Chesterfield volunteer who lives in the centre of England a long way from the sea but has dedicated his spare time to all things nautical has received the MBE.

Richard Dale was nominated for his services to charity Maritime Volunteer Service.

He said: “I’m honoured to have been nominated for this award and am delighted to accept it. I regard this award as a tribute to and recognition of all the hard work put in by my colleagues in the MVS for the benefit of their local communities.”

John Gardner has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in High Bradfield and Low Bradfield.

Sheffield mental health stalwart Elizabeth Versi has received the British Empire Medal for her role in co-founding charity Break the Stigma and her contribution to mental health awareness.

Susan Jane Moore, a director for the Department for Work and Pensions, was given a CBE for services to public administration in Sheffield.

A local NHS health worker’s dedication and commitment to her work with young offenders experiencing mental health conditions has been awarded an MBE.

Paula Phillips received the honour for her work with the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s forensic child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS).

It provides services for young people under 18 who are in contact with the criminal justice system – or are at a high risk of entering it – and who present a risk to others.

Paula said: “It’s amazing to be rewarded for something I believe I should be doing. It’s an honour to do my job.”

Lynne Pepper, headteacher at Herringthorpe Infants School in Rotherham, has been awarded an OBE for her services to education.

Elizabeth Friend, head of the Sheffield Central Drafting Unit at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, received an MBE for her services to public administration, customer service and voluntary services in Sheffield.