New Year's honours for Black Country and Staffordshire community heroes
From a karate club owner to a police chief – meet the local community heroes decorated in the New Year’s honours list.
The Queen’s New Year honours lists recognise the achievements and service of people across the UK, and this year 18 people from the Black Country and Staffordshire have been given an award.
- Former Wolverhampton Council director Keith Ireland was awarded an OBE for his services to local government.
- Dr Joshua Johnson from Penn, Wolverhampton, was given an MBE for his work in karate.
- Doctor Malcolm McKinnon Dick from Rowley Regis was awarded an OBE for his services to history in the West Midlands.
- Jagdev Singh Mavin received a BEM for his efforts within the Walsall Sikh community.
- Dr Janine Barnes from Stourbridge was handed a MBE for her work in pharmacy.
- Great Barr NSPCC volunteer Carol Lyndon was given an MBE for her work helping vulnerable children.
- Smethwick Bishop Stanford Fairin received a BEM for his services to the Sandwell community.
- Diversity officer Mohammed Rafiqyue received an MBE for his work with the Sandwell community.
- Dr Saroj Duggal from Tipton received a MBE for her services to Asian and ethnic minority women.
- Gurinder Singh Josan from Smethwick received a CBE for his services to politics.
- Susan Allen was given a BEM for her voluntary services to the Heath Town community.
- Deputy chief Louisa Rolfe of West Midlands Police was awarded an OBE for dedication to policing and tackling domestic abuse
- Fellow police officer Inspector Mustafa Mohammed received a Queen’s Police Medal
- Keith Hardy from Cheslyn Hay received an MBE for his services to football and the Staffordshire community.
- Kathleen Coe from Burntwood received an MBE for her work helping victims of domestic violence.
- Debra Ann Hazeldine was also awarded an MBE for her services to patient safety in Staffordshire.
- Former Longdon parish councillor Mary Gwynneth Nichols, known as Gwynneth, received an MBE for her services to the Staffordshire community
- Karen Dobson, the principal and chief executive of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, was awarded an OBE for her services to further education.
Keith Ireland served as Wolverhampton Council’s managing director from 2014 to 2018 but stepped down this year to take on a new job as new chief executive of Lincolnshire County Council – a role he has now left.
The award recognises his work at Wolverhampton council during ‘challenging times’.
Mr Ireland said: “I am naturally delighted and proud to receive this great honour and would like to thank councillors and colleagues at the City of Wolverhampton Council and our partner organisations."
Sixty-six-year-old Doctor Malcolm McKinnon Dick’s OBE recognises his contribution to studying, teaching and exploring the history of the West Midlands over his lifetime.
Doctor Dick specialises in West Midlands history and in particular on the 18th and 19th centuries.
Alongside being a director at Birmingham University’s history centre, Doctor Dick is a trustee at the Black Country Living Museum.
He said: “I’m surprised but very honoured to receive the award."
Dedicated football coach Keith Hardy said he was shocked to receive the honour, adding: “For me, I just love helping young people get into football.”
As well as spending 25 years at football club Wyrley Juniors, Mr Hardy was a school governor for 12 years from 1994 and spent 10 years as treasurer for his children’s high school PTA.
Mary Gwynneth Nichols has dedicated more than 50 years of her life to the communities of Longdon village and the Staffordshire Agricultural community – and said she ‘could not believe it’ when she received her MBE.
The 86-year-old, who now lives in Whittington, near Lichfield, said: “I really enjoyed doing things for other people – so I could not believe it when they told me I was getting an MBE.
“If it was 10 to 15 years ago when I was more actively involved in things I would not have been as surprised.
“It is an honour. So many people who did so much for other people, I feel I am a representative for all of them.”
After surviving domestic violence herself, 66-year-old Kathleen Coe from Burntwood set up a 24-hour helpline from her spare bedroom to help others like her.
Initially, she got together a group of volunteers to help her run it, then set about fundraising for accommodation.
But her hard work, persistence and dedication paid off and in August 1994, Project Pathway, the first refuge, was finally opened.
The mother of three and grandmother of six, said: “I was totally overwhelmed when I found out about the MBE. I could not believe it to start with. It is absolutely wonderful news.”
Debra Ann Hazeldine was delighted to be awarded an MBE for her services to patient safety in Staffordshire.
Since the loss of her mother Ellen in 2006, 49-year-old Ms Hazeldine has played a crucial role working alongside Julie Bailey and other families as part of the Cure the NHS campaign group who called for an inquiry into Stafford Hospital.
The mother of one said: “My mother, Ellen, died at the hospital in December 2006. She was in remission for bone cancer and we were told she would live for some time.
“The things I witnessed on that ward – I just felt I needed to give her a voice. I tried to do it on my own, then I joined Cure the NHS. I campaigned for the best part of a decade.”
Meanwhile Dr Joshua Johnson has taught karate at the highest level for the last 50 years – and now he has been awarded an MBE for his services to karate and the Wolverhampton community.
He established a karate club in the city, which has grown to become a nationally recognised centre of excellence.
The father of two and grandfather of one said: “I have been doing karate now for more than 50 years. If you go back through the history of the club, I have helped so many young people become local, national and international champions in this sport.”
A BEM was awarded to Jagdev Singh Mavi, who has worked in the public sector for 32 years and was co-opted as a community governor at Wilkes Green Junior School more than 10 years ago.
He is also a well-respected member of the Sikh community and has been actively involved in the local Walsall Sikh Gurdwara – which has been totally rebuilt to modern standards.
Jagdev, aged 57, who works in the prison service, said: “It was quite an honour to find out about the BEM and I was most humbled. We all work with the hope of achieving a benefit of our community and the people we live with.”
Dr Janine Barnes, a neurology specialist pharmacist from Stourbridge, was honoured with an MBE for her services to pharmacy.
The 54-year-old works as a pharmacist for Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and also as an expert adviser for NICE Centre for Guidelines.
She said: “I was delighted to be awarded the MBE in recognition of all the additional work that I do over and above my employed job.”
Karen Dobson, the principal and chief executive of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG), was awarded an OBE for her services to further education.
Potteries-born Ms Dobson began her career in the public sector with the NHS as a nurse, ward manager and health visitor before moving into further education as a lecturer in Health and Social Care.
Dedicated volunteer Carol Lyndon was commended for devoting more than 2,700 hours to the NSPCC’s service Childline
The 69-year-old from Great Barr has been made an MBE for services to vulnerable children after joining its Edgbaston base in 2005.
Ms Lyndon said: “I don’t do this for recognition, I do it to make a difference for children, but I’m extremely proud to get this honour.”
Bishop Stanford Fairin was recognised for his services to the Sandwell community with a British Empire Medal after more than five decades supporting his congregation.
The father-of-five has been the presiding bishop of Dudley Road’s International First Born Church of the Living God since 1996.
Mohammed Rafique, a diversity and inclusion manager with the Home Office’s immigration enforcement, was awarded an MBE for his services to the promotion of inclusion in the Home Office and to the Sandwell community.
Mr Rafique said: “I have relished the opportunity to lead on a number of diversity and inclusion interventions to make the Home Office a 'great place to work'.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family and colleagues, particularly those within the people and strategic workforce planning team for their support and expertise."
Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason was awarded a CBE for services to music in the New Year Honours list while former Albion defender Gareth McAuley was awarded an MBE for services to Northern Irish football.
The 39-year-old spent seven successful years at The Hawthorns before being released in the summer.
Dr Saroj Duggal, aged 68 from Tipton, received an MBE for her services to Asian and ethnic minority women.
Doctor Duggal works as an insurance broker, but outside her job she helps people and women from ethnic minority backgrounds in dealing with everyday life.
She said: “I went through such a hardship when I moved to England from East Africa so I show people how they can get help.
“I feel over the moon to have received this award - the reason being that the public have recognised my charitable work.”
Gurinder Singh Josan, aged 46 from Smethwick, received a CBE for his services to politics.
He is a former Sandwell councillor, holding a seat from 2002 to 2010, and has also stood twice this year for a position on Labour’s National Executive Committee.
Speaking on getting his award, he said: “I was very surprised to receive this award but very honoured.”
West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe was recognised for her dedication to policing and tackling domestic abuse and awarded an OBE.
She started her policing career as a PC with Avon & Somerset Police before becoming their first female head of CID, and more than 25 years on is now one of the most senior female officers in the country.
The mother-of-two joined West Midlands Police as DCC in early 2016 and is also the current National Police Chiefs Council lead for domestic abuse.
The 49-year-old said: "It has come as a huge shock but I am extremely honoured and proud at the same time.
"I started my policing journey with the aim of helping others and that has remained the same whatever the role. I have worked with and learnt from some fantastic people over the years and I would like to thank them for their support."
Also honoured in the list was Inspector Mustafa Mohammed, who is president of the National Association of Muslim Police.
Insp Mohammed was one of a small number of Muslim officers when he joined the force in 1988, but 20 years later he went on to form the WMP Muslim Association, of which he is the current chair.
He has helped examine the issue of Islamophobic hate crime and build the force’s relationship with the Muslim community while encouraging members to join the force.
The 56-year-old said: "My reaction was one of total disbelief. I had to show the letter to my wife to make sure I was reading it correctly."
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