The great and good of Bedfordshire get the nod in New Year Honours List

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Service during pandemic at centre of the awards

A whole host of heroes in the county have received gongs in the New Year Honours List.

Charan Sekhon from Bedford - the UK’s first senior Sikh officer of the Environment Agency - is among the award recipients and has been made MBE for services to charity, diversity and the environment, particularly during Covid-19.

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He said: “I am very surprised and feel incredibly humbled to hear this news. I am honoured to receive this recognition.

Charan SekhonCharan Sekhon
Charan Sekhon

"It is also a reflection on the collective team effort and enormous support and guidance I received from my colleagues at the Environment Agency, Unison and our fantastic team of volunteers who work with us that makes SEVA Trust UK, a community charity we launched six years ago.”

Mr Sekhon - a former Kempston town councillor and current Sharnbrook parish councillor - added: “During the Covid-19 challenging times, we managed to help a lot of vulnerable work colleagues and diverse communities who faced hardships. It has been a true partnership and collaborative work with all those who want to help and uplift others and I would like to thank everyone for their amazing support.

"I must thank my entire family. Words cannot express my sincere appreciation for their great support and love and above all the guidance by my parents, who taught me a true meaning of


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Deborah Mary Inskip received an OBE or services to the community in Bedfordshire, particularly during Covid-19; Professor Alan Cottenden was awarded an MBE for services to sufferers of incontinence; Nikki Anne Iles was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to music; Nicola Perfect also received the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in Riseley, particularly during Covid-19; Jenny Coles was made CBE for services to children's social care; and Councillor James Jamieson was awarded the OBE for services to local government.

Helen Nellis, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, said: “I am thrilled for the Bedfordshire residents who have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list for 2022.

"We see year on year so many wonderful people in Bedfordshire who work so hard to make sure that all of us are supported and nurtured and this has been ever more evident during the recent times of the pandemic.

"It is so enriching that the significant contributions of these people has been recognised and rewarded. I offer my sincere thanks and congratulations to all the recipients”

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