Lord Lieutenant celebrates achievements of residents receiving honours

Bridget Murphy with Lord Lieutenant Helen Nellis.
Bridget Murphy with Lord Lieutenant Helen Nellis.

HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire Helen Nellis led a ceremony to celebrate the achievements of Bedfordshire residents included in the 2015 New Year Honours List.

It also saw Mrs Nellis present Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Awards to representatives of ten Bedfordshire employers as well as British Empire Medals to Nigel and Susan Anstead, who run the White Horse pub in Bedford, during a ceremony at the Harpur Suite, Bedford.

Those whose achievements were acknowledged and celebrated included:

Sir Peter Kendall (Knighthood for services to the Agricultural Industry in England and Wales)

A farmer in East Bedfordshire, Sir Peter is the current chairman of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. He was president of the National Farmers’ Union from 2006 to 2014, during which time he transformed the organisation of dairy farmers and fought for fairness and improvements across the industry.

On receiving the honour, Sir Peter said: “I am incredibly proud to receive this honour and to have had the privilege of helping represent and promote British farming, farmers and food production. I continue to be massively proud to be a farmer.”

Martin Bean CBE (For services to education)

Mr Bean was formerly Vice-Chancellor of The Open University. He previously held the positions with Microsoft, Novell and other companies integrating technology and learning systems.

In 2012 he was named as one of the Prime Minister’s business ambassadors. He has won numerous awards in the US and UK for his contribution to education.

In January 2015, Mr Bean left Bedfordshire to take up the role of Vice-Chancellor and President of RMIT University (Formerly the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr Pamela Ayewoh-Bernard MBE (For services to the African and Caribbean community in Bedford)

Dr Ayewoh-Bernard has devoted 18 years to creating opportunities for young people from the African and Caribbean communities of Bedford and also reactivating the Bedford African and Caribbean Forum.

She is working to help more African and Caribbean children achieve good grades at GCSE and A-level in order to go on to university and working with older people to record their life stories to produce a book to be kept in Bedford Library.

Dr Ayewoh-Bernard said: “I was so happy to be recognised and now I have to really work hard to represent the Africans and Caribbeans of Bedford. I will build on this honour and do all the things we want to do. I give thanks to God. He has blessed me.”

Jamal Edwards MBE (For services to music)

At the age of just 24 Mr Edwards, founder and chief executive officer of SB.TV, is one of the youngest ever recipients of an MBE.

He began uploading rap freestyle clips he recorded of his friends performing on the estate where he lived at the age of 15. His amateur footage included artists such as Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Chipmunk and Tinchy Stryder.

Mr Edwards founded and launched the music and youth broadcasting channel SB.TV in 2006. The company has now incorporated more genres of music and this led to working with acoustic artists such as Ed Sheeran and other popular artists such as Jessie J, Emeli Sande, The Wanted and Pixie Lott. In February 2011, SB.TV launched its own music label, Just Jam.

Luton-based Mr Edwards, who is also an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, said: “I’m honoured to be one of the youngest people awarded with an MBE. Never in a million years did I ever think I would receive such an accolade. “For me this is about us, the youth, with so much negativity around us, it’s hard sometimes to stay positive and fight for your dreams.”

Cllr Carole Ellis MBE (For services to local government and charity) Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson gave an address at the ceremony which paid tribute to Cllr Ellis who was awarded the MBE in December shortly before losing her fight with a long-standing illness.

He said: “Carole dedicated 23 years of her life to being a borough councillor and for 22 of those years she was also a parish councillor for Great Barford, working tirelessly for her constituents.

“She was held in the highest regard across the council for her commitment to both the community in Great Barford where she lived, and to the wider borough.

“As Civic Mayor of Bedford borough in 1999-2000, Carole hosted Nelson Mandela’s visit to Bedford to rededicate the bust of Archbishop Trevor Huddleston.

“She also supported a number of local charities such as Furniture Link, the cardiac unit at Bedford Hospital, the Bedford and District Handicapped Riding Association at Willington and Headway Bedford.”

Cllr Ellis’ widower Eddie, son Andrew and daughter Sheryl were present at the ceremony.

Helena Hopkins MBE (For services to public services)

Luton resident Ms Hopkins has been a civil servant in the Health and Safety Executive, Employment Service and currently the Cabinet Office. Since 1997 she has been a member of the Prime Minister’s support team and is now Head of the Garden Room in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Ms Hopkins has delivered an exemplary information management and administrative service to four prime ministers and their senior advisors which included the challenges of the weeks after the September 11 attacks and the successful London Olympic bid and event.

She is also heavily involved in charity work raising money for the Royal Marsden Hospital and Cancer Research and is a telephone befriender through Friends of the Elderly.

Bridget Murphy MBE (For services to vulnerable people)

Bedford resident Ms Murphy worked for the Bedfordshire Police Authority from January 2006 and later as the Chief Constable’s personal assistant.

She also devotes her time to charitable work in Bedfordshire, supporting both Bedfordshire Sight Concern and the Samaritans.

Ms Murphy, who was director of the Bedford branch of the Samaritans from 2007 to 2010, began volunteering with them 17 years ago to play a small part in ensuring people are not alone in their crisis. She regularly volunteers to staff the phones and supports the Samaritans’ charitable events.

Andrew Wallis MBE (For services to the commemoration of national heritage and charity)

Mr Wallis, from Henlow, is curator of the Guards Museum in London. The museum tells the story of the five Guards regiments from the 17th century to the present day and shows the multi-faceted nature of their operational lives, both in combat and on ceremonial duties.

Speaking about his honour, Mr Wallis said: “This is a real thrill for me. I was very surprised when I heard about it. I work with a lot of guardsmen who do great things and are rewarded, so to be put in the same bracket as them is quite something.”

Mr Wallis has spent the last six and a half years delivering the Flanders Field Memorial Garden at the museum, which was opened by The Queen in November 2014. The garden contains soil from First World War battlefields in Belgium and the Commonwealth War Grave Cemeteries, gathered by Belgian and British schoolchildren.

Mr Wallis is also very involved with a charity for homeless ex-servicemen, Veterans Aid, of which he is trustee. He also advises the major broadcasting companies on the military ceremonial aspects of state occasions.

Speaking after the ceremony, Mrs Nellis said: “It was a real privilege to learn about all of the achievements of Bedfordshire honours recipients which led to their various awards.

“All the recipients have brought enrichment to others, each with a tremendous impact in their fields. This is because of their commitment, their effort and their dedication to working for, supporting and serving others. For this reason they have been honoured and that achievement has been recognised here today.”