29 May British Empire Medal Award Ceremony 2020/2021 Shropshire
On Tuesday 18th May at Shrewsbury Castle the Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire Mrs Anna Turner presented British Empire Medals to 12 Shropshire residents recognised in the 2020 Birthday Honours List and the 2021 New Year’s Honours List. She said “with so many Shropshire citizens being recognised for their contributions to our community it is a very proud moment for our county and I would like to congratulate them all.
The recipients were:
Jane Jervis, Patricia Sharpe, June (Gloria) Beharrell, Malcolm Farrar, Georgina Gibbons, Margaret Hamer, Betty Lewis (not present) Sufu Miah “George”, John Maclean, Mr & Mrs David English & June Walker
For decades, from the age of just 17, Jane Jervis has devoted many thousands of hours working as a prolific fundraiser for many organisations from the League of friends shop at the Royal Shrewsbury hospital, to Chairing the Shrewsbury Marks and Spencers charity committee. She is also the founder and Chairwoman of the Breast Cancer Care lottery and luncheon club that raises money for both Shrewsbury and Telford Breast Cancer Care team and Relate
Supporting countless charities and good causes including Lingen Davis and Hope House, the activities she has organised range from golf days, dinner dances and raffles but she is perhaps best known for organising weekly car boot sales where not only has she personally raised many thousands of pounds she has persuaded many traders to support her charitable causes.
However it is not just organsations Jane supports with her imaginative, enthusiastic and inspirational fundraising, she also helps individuals including raising over £3,000.00 for a local boy needing surgery to enable him to walk. Her charitable work is longstanding and inspirational and her British empire Medal much deserved.
Linked to British Gymnastics for over 40 years as an elite trampoline coach, competition judge and charity fundraiser, Tricia, Sharpe has done much to raise the profile and facilities of gymnastics; throughout she has been determined to ensure accessibility of trampolining for all, including those with mental or physical disabilities.
Founder of the pioneering Recoil trampoline club, created from a 12-year fundraising campaign she raised £376 ,000 to create a totally inclusive facility for all ages and abilities including the disabled and those with learning difficulties. British Gymnastics now use this as a HUB for Disability Gymnastics. Although recently retired she remains a trustee of the centre . She is also acknowledged as one of the most knowledgeable in her field, constantly encouraging and mentoring coaches to become disability trained.
Career highlights include producing several high performing British Champions and she was selected to be a torch bearer ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games, in London. A very worthy winner of a British Empire Medal
Completely dedicated to the task of supporting the Severn Hospice, June Beharrell, over the past 15 years, through sheer dogged persistence, has personally raised over £145,000 for the Severn Hospice, plus thousands for other local charities. Her huge efforts have funded everything from patient room upgrades to nurses uniforms.
Every Friday and Saturday, except when Covid measures prevented, she attends the Shrewsbury Market Hall to rattle her tin and raise vital funds to enhance the support for those suffering from cancer. Now considered a fixture of the market she engages with townspeople not just fundraising but building longstanding relationships, demonstrating genuine concern about their problems, often sending cards and flowers to show support when most needed. Even when her usual activities were curtailed by the pandemic, not one to be deterred, she set up an online fundraising page so her fundraising could continue . She has consistently gone the extra mile and won the hearts of their community; she is a very worthy recipient of a British Empire medal.
Passionate and committed to improving road safety, Malcolm Farrar a Shropshire Council Road Safety Education officer, spends much of his spare time creating memorable presentations focussing on road hazards, peer pressure and speed limits, creating 250 presentations to engage more than 9,000 pupils annually. Recognising the importance of local images and videos each presentation is bespoke and contains hours of painstaking research to maximise pupil interaction and effectiveness.
Undoubtedly all this effort pays off as teenagers refer to him as a”legend”, no mean feat to achieve such an accolade from youngsters, but testament to his ability to educate in a fun and engaging way. He also delivers presentations to RAF staff and Police cadets.
Malcolm’s entire career has been dedicated to the safety of people in many settings, scout movement, RAF, Driving Standards Agency and for the past 16 years through Shropshire Council. His contribution to road safety is inspirational and recognition today, much deserved.
Georgina Gibbons is widely recognised as an expert in supporting children and young people with Special Educational Needs & Disabilities.
In the late-1980s, she was instrumental in the founding of a playgroup. In the 90s, she went to establish the Opportunity Pre-School in Shrewsbury, a parent-managed charity. A quarter of a century later, she remains dedicated to the support of children with challenging needs.
Georgina ensures an inspiring approach to early childhood education, evaluating children’s abilities and needs with a view to helping and stimulating each to reach their full potential. She shares her expertise through leadership of a cohesive team, her hard work being recognised by successive Outstanding ratings by OFSTED.
She is noted especially for the support she gives families struggling to come to terms with a child’s condition, helping them build friendships with others rather than risk becoming isolated or struggling alone. A lead member of the Early Years Networks, she shares her knowledge and best practice through lectures at Manchester and Chester universities. Parents, children and education professionals have endorsed her commitment and her results: Georgina Gibbons is a remarkable asset in our community.
For more than thirty years, Margaret Hamer and her friend Betty Lewis – also awarded a British Empire Medal but who cannot be with us today – have given exceptional service to the elderly of Church Stretton through the operation of an entirely voluntary weekly luncheon club. Their Thursday Club, is it is known, offers hot and freshly-cooked meals together with essential social interaction for up to 40 people within a housing complex using only locally sourced fresh ingredients to ensure a healthy meal
The benefits of this long-standing enterprise to the elderly within the Church Stretton community cannot be underestimated. They bring people together for to enjoy company and social contact on a regular basis, thereby relieving isolation and loneliness experienced by elderly residents. During the Thursday Club’s existence, Margaret and Betty have provided over 45,000 lunches and enabled the forming of lasting friendships within the community that otherwise would not have been possible.
Sufu Miah “George” opened a restaurant, Simla, in Oswestry some 45 years ago. He has overcome discrimination and prejudice to change attitudes. He has worked tirelessly in achieving acceptance and integration for fellow Bangladeshis, Muslims and others in the British Asian community both in his home town, across Shropshire and beyond our county boundary.
George has chaired the Chester & North Wales region of the Greater Sylhet & Development Welfare Council and the Shropshire Bangladeshi Welfare Society. He was hugely instrumental in founding a Muslim Prayer Centre in Shrewsbury, the first of its kind in our county and has done much the same in Oswestry, helping to establish a meeting place there for Muslims.
He is closely involved with interfaith and inter-community groups, working towards bettering the relationships of various religious and cultural communities. He has raised funds for a broad range of causes – local and National – including Hope House, Help for Heroes, restoration of a local Church, Macmillan Cancer Support among others. In summary, Mr Miah has led the improvement of life for people South-Asian origin throughout our part of the Country.
John Maclean: For services to the community in Shrewsbury.
John is a retired marine engineer who has been instrumental in the restoration of the Coleham Pumping Station in Shrewsbury. This steam driven pumping station went into operation in 1901 and was later converted to electrical power. As Chief Engineer of the Shrewsbury Steam Trust, John’s experience and technical expertise was vital to its restoration to steam power. His hard work has ensured that the pumping station is now a working museum, welcoming the public 5-6 weekends a year and also scheduled groups. John is now training other volunteers to ensure that the Pumping Station will continue to operate long after he has retired.
John also offers his engineering knowledge and expertise throughout his local community of Leighton helping village committees and individuals alike. He is an active fundraiser for the village hall and generously gives his time to others.
Jennifer English: Director, English Care Ltd. For services to Social Care during Covid-19.
Jennifer has been responsible for delivering high quality care for over 20 years, putting residents and staff wellbeing at the heart of all she does. During the pandemic she ensured that she was always available to staff and residents and has gone above and beyond to deliver excellent care. This has included keeping in close contact with staff who needed to shield, enabling homeworking where possible, handmaking visors and creating safe visiting areas as lockdown was lifted. She has carefully monitored wellbeing and mental health during this very stressful time. Jennifer also gives her time and expertise to the wider community as a director of Shropshire Partners in Care, a not-for-profit organisation representing 240 care companies in the county, which offers training, workforce initiatives and represents the sector in discussions with local authorities and the NHS.
David English: Director, English Care Ltd. For services to Social Care during Covid-19
David provides care and accommodation to vulnerable adults in Shropshire and is the director of a construction company. He shut down all non-essential visits to his care homes before the National Lockdown in 2020; a brave decision which was vital in ensuring the wellbeing of his residents. David has been proactive in ensuring staff wellbeing by keeping all well informed and reassured, ensuring good PPE supplies and high quality training and maintaining safe working practices in both construction and care. David cared for his staff in practical ways including free accommodation, purchasing essential items and amending working patterns to take account of staff member’s responsibilities for others who were shielding. He boosted morale and supported the wellbeing throughout his care homes by providing extra technology to enable families to video-call anytime and establishing secure online options for everyone to keep in touch.
June Walker: Community Champion, Asda Donnington Wood. For services to the Economy during Covid-19
June is a champion for young people. Throughout the pandemic she has gone above and beyond her role to support youth groups, schools and nurseries to ensure that no child went hungry. In addition to these donations she secured a vital grant to support a holiday group, thus supporting children throughout the summer holidays. Having been restricted from visiting schools as she has done for many years, she has developed innovative solutions using technology to keep her longstanding connections to schools alive. She used fun quizzes and other activities to continue to share cooking skills and the importance of healthy eating.
June also continues to support many local charities, including mutual aid groups, supporting housing and mental health charities. These donations have helped vulnerable people throughout her community who may not otherwise receive support.
Photographs by Shropshire Star Photographer Jamie Ricketts