Music to the ears as honours handed out

From seven singers gathered around a piano in a living room to a place in the New Year Honours list – June Davenhill has come a long way in the last 50 years.

Music to the ears as honours handed out

The musical director helped launch Pelsall Ladies Choir in 1963 and has now been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to music and the community in the Queen's New Year's Honours list.

The choir started with seven women gathered around a piano in a living room and has now marked its 50th anniversary with around six times the number of original members.

Members organise charity concerts and have raised more than £40,000 for causes such as The British Lung Foundation and HeartCare.

Great-grandmother-of-two Mrs Davenhill, aged 77, of Allens Lane, Pelsall, said: "I got told about the BEM in November and didn't quite believe it."

MBE?honour for Mel Evans

Mel Evans has a lot to celebrate in 2014. Not only does he mark 50 years since making his bowling playing debut in the Cannock Thursday League, he has now been awarded an MBE for services to Crown Green Bowling.

Mr Evans, who lives in Heath Hayes, Cannock, spends most of his time playing and promoting Crown Green Bowls.

He said he was 'overwhelmed' and 'surprised' to receive his MBE.

He said: "I have always tried to put something back into the game by promoting leagues, tournaments and media work."

Mr Evans has played for Chadsmoor Progressive Working Men's Club for the past 46 years. During his career he has played more than 100 times for Staffordshire and won around 130 singles and doubles titles around the country.

Pauline Kelsey has been a pillar of the community in Great Wyrley for 40 years – and says she was 'stunned' to find out she would receive the British Empire Medal.

Mrs Kelsey has helped organise the village's carnival since 1977 in her role as secretary of the event's committee, and is also a committee member at the Great Wyrley Townswomen's Guild, the village's senior citizens centre and the local history society.

Peter Bennion, assistant commissioner at the St John Ambulance, has been honoured with the CBE for voluntary service. He was given an award in 2009 for more than 50 years service.

Anne Clendon said it was 'wonderful' to get a BEM for services to the community in Great Haywood. Mrs Clendon has been on Colwich Parish Council for more than 20 years, serving as chairwoman for seven of those. She is also on the Best Kept Village committee. Two HM Revenue and Customs chiefs from Lichfield have also been honoured with an OBE. Lynette Hirst, head of enforcement and specialist offices in debt management and banking in Birmingham, was honoured for service to taxpayers. And Anthony Stewart, from the specialist investigations technical team in Solihull, was recognised for services to tackling tax non-compliance.

Dr Sadhu Singh Gakhal, of Wolverhampton, receives an MBE for services to the Sikh community.

Dr Sadhu Singh Gakhal – MBE for services to the Sikh community

The 67-year-old said he was 'thrilled' to have received the honour. He is currently the vice chairman of British Sikh Consultative Forum, which represents the interests of around 30 per cent of Wolverhampton's population.

Jayne Leeson, from Cradley Heath, is awarded the MBE for services to people with intellectual disabilities. Ms Leeson is the chief executive of West Midlands-based Changing Our Lives, a charity which supports people with disabilities of all ages. Lecturer Dr Simon Cotton has welcomed his BEM honour for services to chemistry and education as a 'compliment to two unfashionable professions'.

Dr Cotton, aged 67, taught for 30 years at state and independent schools around the country and is now Honorary Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at Birmingham University.

Counselling and young people's advice centre manager Julie Duffy said she was stunned to hear the news she was to be awarded the British Empire Medal. Mrs Duffy has been chief officer of the What? Centre, in Stourbridge, for around 20 years, and has helped tens of thousands of young people during her time.

Rachel Eade, who currently works as the automotive sector lead for the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), based on Wolverhampton Science Park, has also been awarded the MBE for helping suppliers.

Jackie Brookes has been honoured with an MBE for helping women across the world. Miss Brookes, of Moreton, near Newport, said she was 'flabbergasted' to pick up the award. The 73-year-old has been a member of Soroptimist International's Bilston division for the last 47 years – and has been president three times.

Winning an MBE for his services to the rehabilitation of offenders is John Home, the owner and director of Willowdene Farm Rehabilitation centre in Chorley near Bridgnorth.

Meanwhile, a long serving community worker who has spent years supporting the elderly is celebrating receiving an MBE.

Sylvia Christine Harris, who uses her maiden name as Simpson, said she felt very honoured to be given the award.

Mrs Harris spent 25 years working at the YMCA in Pendeford, before being made redundant in May. But she continues to support the community through a variety of organisations.

Mrs Harris of Cresswell Court, Pendeford said: "I am so proud to receive an MBE."

More of our region's success stories:



Mrs Karren Brady, Vice Chair, West Ham Football Club, for services to Entrepreneurship and Women in Business – Solihull, West Midlands.

Mrs Adrianne Shirley Jones, MBE, for services to Tennis – Birmingham, West Midlands.

Ms Julie Dawn Bailey, campaigner, Cure the NHS, Staffordshire, for services to the Care of Older People – Shrawley, Worcestershire.


Mrs Helene Donnelly, Nurse Practitioner and Ambassador, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership Trust, for Services to the NHS – Gnosall, Staffordshire.

Mrs Lynette Joy Hirst, Head of Enforcement and Specialist Offices, Debt Management and Banking, Birmingham, H.M Revenue and Customs, for service to Taxpayers – Lichfield.

Anthony William Stewart, Grade 6, Specialist Investigations Technical Team, Solihull, HM Revenue and Customs, for services to Tackling Tax Non-Compliance – Lichfield, Staffordshire.


Peter John Bennion, Assistant Commissioner, St. John Ambulance Training, for voluntary service to St. John Ambulance in the West Midlands – Staffordshire.

Miss Jacqueline Margaret Brookes, for services to the Soroptimist International Bilston, West Midlands and the community in Moreton, Staffordshire – Newport, Shropshire.

Melvyn Evans, for services to Crown Green Bowling – Cannock, Staffordshire.

Dr Sadhu Singh Gakhal,Vice Chair, British Sikh Consultative Forum, for services to the Sikh Community – Wolverhampton, West Midlands.

Ms Sylvia Christine Harris, Community Worker, YMCA, for services to the community in Wolverhampton – Wolverhampton, West Midlands.

Ms Jayne Leeson, Chief executive, Changing Our Lives, for services to People with Intellectual Disabilities – Cradley Heath, West Midlands.



Dr Simon Anthony Cotton, for services to Chemistry and Education – Stourbridge, West Midlands.

Mrs June Davenhill, musical director, Pelsall Ladies Choir, for services to Music and the community – Walsall, West Midlands.

Mrs Julie Lilian Duffy, Chief Officer, the What Centre, Stourbridge, for services to Children, Young People, and Families – Stourbridge, West Midlands.

Mrs Pauline Kelsey, for services to the community in Great Wyrley, Staffordshire – Walsall.

Mrs Anne Ruth Clendon, for services to the community in Great Haywood, Staffordshire– Great Haywood, Staffordshire.

Mrs Pauline Kelsey, for services to the community in Great Wyrley, Staffordshire – Walsall, West Midlands.


Peter Dartford, Chief Fire Officer, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.


Neil Evans, Chief Superintendent, West Midlands Police, Wolverhampton

David Thompson, Deputy Chief Constable, West Midlands Police.



Anthony Christopher Marsh, Chief Executive Officer, West Midlands Ambulance Service Trust.

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