Queen awards knighthood to sponsor of Brighton and Portslade academies

Posted On 31 Dec 2011 at 2:26 am

Falmer and Portslade academies sponsor Rod Aldridge has been knighted in the New Year Honours List.

Sir Rod, 64, chairman of the Aldridge Foundation, said: “I’m overwhelmed and deeply honoured. It’s fantastic news.

“It’s for services to young people and that’s what it’s about. It’s fantastic for the foundation and for the team I’ve got around me.”

Sir Rod Aldridge

Sir Rod was born locally and went to Portslade County School for Boys after failing the 11-plus.

He left school at 16 and worked for East Sussex County Council and Brighton Borough Council (now Brighton and Hove City Council).

He worked his way up as an accountant, eventually setting up the outsourcing company Capita.

By the time he stepped down as executive chairman in 2006 the company was making £200 million a year in profit.

He was made an OBE in the 1994 New Year Honours List and in 1996 he was given the freedom of the City of London and elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Sir Rod was approached by the council to turn Falmer High School into an academy. It opened last year as the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy and moved into a new £28 million building in September.

He has since turned his old school, which had become Portslade Community College, into the Portslade Aldridge Community Academy.

The council is due to decide a planning application on Wednesday 11 January for a £12 million sixth form on the academy’s Chalky Road site.

Sir Rod sponsors three other academies, is a patron and former trustee of the Prince’s Trust, chairmam of V, the volunteering charity, and a member of the Prince’s Charities Council.

He describes himself as “deeply committed to entrepreneurship and passionate in his commitment to equality of opportunity and access for all”.

He was one of at least five people from Brighton and Hove to be honoured by the Queen in the New Year Honours List. The others were also recognised for their work with voluntary and charitable organisations.

Ray Hazan

Ray Hazan, 66, the president of St Dunstan’s, the charity with a home in Ovingdean, was made an OBE for services to blind ex-servicemen and women. Mr Hazan was blinded by a parcel bomb in Northern Ireland in 1973 and also lost his right hand. He has since inspired hundreds of others who have lost their sight and has served on the staff of St Dunstan’s since 1977.

Elizabeth Howell, chief executive of the Compaid Trust, a charity for disabled people in Kent, was also made an OBE. Mrs Howell, who lives in Brighton, was honoured for services to the voluntary sector in South East England.

Alice Purnell

Alice Purnell, 68, from Hove, was also made an OBE. The psychologist, counsellor and author was honoured for services to transgender people. She worked as a geriatric nurse for many years and helped set up numerous support groups for transgender people. She also organised conferences and training for professionals and those involved in the care of transpeople. She said of her honour: “It took me by surprise. I’ve done the work because it needed to be done. It’s nice to get a pat on the back.”

Jess Wood, the founder and director of the Allsorts Youth Project in Ship Street, Brighton, was made an MBE for services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans (LGBT) and young people.

Jess Wood

She said: “I feel very honoured to receive such an award especially when I think of all the wonderful volunteers and workers in the community and voluntary sector in Brighton and Hove whose incredible achievements also deserve recognition.

“I know I am only one of many people out there fighting for a better and more just society. What pleases me most is that an MBE for any LGBT individual tells us that the state recognises that the LGBT communities matter and need specific services which the state values and honours.”

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