Recognition of hard work in honours list for Bedford locals

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A doctor from Bedford is among three local recipients recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Doctor Ramesh Mehta, until his recent retirement, served as a consultant and lead Paediatrician at Bedford Hospital.

He is now the president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origins (BAPIO).

He has provided exemplary services to the NHS, spanning more than 30 years and he has been recognised by the Queen with an OBE for his services to the NHS.

His professional leadership as a paediatrician 
has helped modernise local and regional child health services.

He has influenced policy making decisions regarding the health care of children nationally.

His various roles have included chairman for the East of England Paediatric Development Group and council member for the Royal College of Paediatrics.

Dr Mehta has contributed significantly at national level on issues related to supporting equality and diversity for NHS professionals.

He said: “I am grateful for such a recognition and share the achievement with all my colleagues, friends and family members who have supported me for years.”

The second to be honoured with an OBE, was rush weaver Felicity Irons from Bedford.

Over the last 25 years she has been responsible for single-handedly rescuing and rebuilding a vanishing local industry within Bedfordshire.

In 1992 she started Rush Matters, having received a loan from The Prince’s Youth Business Trust.

She became an ambassador giving voluntary talks to schools, the WI and various other organisations.

Unlike the modern and cheaper methods used by her contemporaries, when starting Rush Matters she hand cut and dried all of her rushes every year – so as not to harm to the ecology of the rivers or hurt local wildlife.

She has been commissioned by many heritage organisations such as The National Trust and Historic Royal Palaces.

She has also done work for museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Her significant projects include the rush matting of Montacute House, the floor matting of Kew Palace, rush placement at Shakespeare’s Globe and rush matting measuring 50 metres long and seven metres wide at Hardwick Hall.

National and international demand for English Rush and her work grows each year – she exports to Japan, the US, France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Picture by: Barry Halton