Inspirational school teacher among Brighton and Hove recipients of Queen’s birthday honours

Posted On 09 Jun 2018 at 9:07 pm

An inspirational Brighton secondary school teacher is among a cluster of local people to have been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list today (Saturday 9 June).

Alison Browning

Alison Browning, who has guided hundreds of Varndean School students through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, has been made an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).

She is due to retire next month, having started out as a maths teacher in east London in 1980. She became head of maths at Varndean in 1991 and is the school’s information, advice and guidance lead.

Varndean School head William Deighan said: “We are absolutely delighted that Alison has been honoured with an MBE for her tireless efforts to support our young people.

“She really is exceptional and we wish her well in her retirement where she will be, no doubt, busier than ever.

“In every school all over the UK teachers and school staff are giving continually, supporting students in ways that cannot be measured.

“As a caring profession, we are committed to going that extra mile, instinctively, to nurturing talent and to build character and resilience in our young people, and we will do whatever it takes to help them achieve everything they can.

Alison retires at the end of the summer term and what better end to her phenomenal teaching career than to have her contribution to young lives recognised in this way.

“We are hugely proud of her and are honoured to have gained so much from her time with us.

“Her legacy will continue for many, many years as will the impact of her dedication through the lives of the thousands of young people she has challenged and inspired.”

Britain’s former paralympic wheelchair basketball captain Simon Munn, 50, from Peacehaven,
 has also been honoured with an MBE.

The Cabinet Office, which hosts the honours secretariat, said: “A respected ambassador for the sport of wheelchair basketball, he has represented Great Britain in seven successive Paralympic Games, World and European competitions since 1992.

“Having represented the UK in wheelchair basketball – the most competitive parasport – for 26 years, he retired after the Paralympic games in Rio de Janeiro and now devotes his time to educating and mentoring young people, fundraising and organising school games.

“Since losing his leg in a train accident in 1991 aged 21, he has consistently inspired people to recognise what is possible, despite adversity.

Simon Munn – Picture by onEdition 2016

“His performance in representing GB, not only in the paralympics but in a whole host of International competitions has led him to win over 15 medals – often in a role as team captain.

“His regular television, radio and community appearances allow him to raise the profile of the sport and encourage others.

“His regular appearances in schools inspire a new generation of players.

“In all he does, there is an enthusiasm to improve other’s lives, either from a distance or by close coaching – an embodiment of the paralympic spirit.”

Another local man to be honoured by being made an MBE is veteran lifeboat crew member Stan Todd, 58, of Cuckmere Way, Brighton.

He helmed the Brighton lifeboat in the 1980s as a volunteer before joining a crew on the Thames full time where he became helm in 2001.

The Cabinet Office said: “A brave and selfless volunteer, he has volunteered for the RNLI since 1980, first at Brighton, launching countless times in his 22 years of service at the station.

Stan Todd

“Since moving to Tower lifeboat station on the Thames in 2001, the busiest lifeboat station in the country, he has launched over 1,200 times on service and saved over 321 lives.

“He was the first ever RNLI crew member to reach over 1,000 service calls.”

Mother and daughter Darran Saunders and Courtney Saunders-Jones have been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for voluntary service to young people in Brighton and Hove.

The family set up the Connor Saunders Foundation after Connor was killed in an unprovoked attack six years ago.

Not only did five of Connor’s organs help others to live, but the family and the foundation have donated more than 70 life-saving defibrillators to schools, youth clubs and sports clubs. It has also provided first aid training to thousands of youngsters.

Courtney Saunders-Jones and Darran Saunders

Shortly before leaving office as a Prime Minister, David Cameron praised Mrs Saunders and her husband Shaun, giving them a Points of Light award.

He said: “Shaun and Darran have both made a remarkable commitment to raising awareness of the importance of organ donation in their son’s memory.

“The courage they have shown in using their son Connor’s story to educate young people about the tragic consequences of violence is truly inspiring.”

Former Brighton police commander Nev Kemp has been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.

Nev Kemp as a chief superintendent

Mr Kemp, who went to Longhill School, is now Assistant Chief Constable of Surrey.

He served in Sussex Police for 22 years and spent a spell as a sergeant in Brighton before succeeding Graham Bartlett as the chief superintendent and divisional commander for Brighton and Hove five years ago.

Among his duties with Sussex Police were protecting vulnerable people and a stint as head of crime and counter-terrorism operations.

Friends Centre principal Helen Osbourne becomes an MBE for service to adult education.

Helen Osbourne

Miss Osbourne is also the learner services manager at the Friends Centre, in New England Street, Brighton.

Akeela Ahmed, a 39-year-old mother of three, has been made an MBE for services to Muslim women after setting up She Speaks We Hear.

She aims to help women challenge preconceptions, with too many people treating Muslim women as either a terror threat or victims of abuse.

Mrs Ahmed also works with not-for-profit social enterprise Seaside CIC which helps the homeless in Brighton.

She said that she was “hugely proud and honoured”, adding: “I really feel that this award is not just for me but it’s for all the amazing women that I work with who are all changemakers in their own communities and doing amazing things and I think they will feel that this is recognition for Muslim women more broadly.”

The architect Farshid Moussavi, who designed a home in Hove for her parents to spend their retirement in, has been made an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).

Farshid Moussavi

Mrs Moussavi may have struggled to gain planning permission for her designs locally but the 52-year-old world-leading authority, who designed Victoria Beckham’s flagship London fashion store, has been given the royal seal of approval.

And finally the veteran BBC correspondent Kate Adie has been appointed a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).

Kate Adie

The 72-year-old broadcaster spent part of her early career with Radio Brighton, now BBC Sussex, a stint that she once described as “almost completely disastrous”.

She later went on to build an impressive reputation, reporting from war zones and trouble spots around the world.

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