Achievement, service and dedication rewarded by Queen in New Year Honours List

Posted On 31 Dec 2021 at 10:30 pm

More than a dozen people from Brighton and Hove and with links to the area have been recognised by the Queen in the New Year Honours List.

Roger Cohen

They include long-serving RNLI lifeboat volunteer Roger Cohen, human rights barrister Zimran Samuel and Davinder Dhillon, who keeps alive the memory of the sacrifice of Indian soldiers in the First World War.

They also include BHASVIC’s chair of governors Sandra Prail, Lorraine Clarke, a Sussex Police officer and detective who became a head teacher, and Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings, a textile artist, crafts maker and curator.

Others include Helen Jones, who founded MindOut, the LGBT mental health charity, Brighton University professor, Nick Webborn, who chairs the British Paralympic Association, and Melanie Robinson, the British ambassador to Zimbabwe.

More than half a dozen were students or staff at Sussex University or Brighton University and all have carried out voluntary work on behalf of organisations helping others.

Lifeboat veteran Roger Cohen, 66, from Brighton, became an MBE after 39 years’ service with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

Mr Cohen, the lifeboat operations manager at Brighton Lifeboat Station and Newhaven Lifeboat Station, was honoured for services to the RNLI and charity.

He said: “I’m humbled to receive the award. I never expected it.”

Human rights barrister Zimran Samuel, 36, from Brighton, has been made an MBE for services to victims of domestic abuse.

During the pandemic, from the first lockdown onward, Mr Samuel helped by working pro bono – unpaid – dealing with cases of domestic abuse and violence as the numbers increased.

Zimran Samuel, Amartya and Ilham

He said: “I had no idea … It was a massive and genuine surprise. When I saw a brown envelope in the post, I thought that I might be in trouble.

“It is a privilege but not necessarily a reflection on me because there will be many people who don’t have recognition but deserve it much more.”

Davinder Dhillon, 68, from Hove, becomes an OBE for services to the commemoration of Indian Forces’ contribution in the First World War.

Mr Dhillon chairs the Chattri Memorial Group which organises the annual service at the Chattri, on the Downs north of Patcham.

Davinder Dhillon

Many of the soldiers cremated there had been sent to a temporary hospital set up at the Royal Pavilion – Mr Dhillon is also a trustee of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust.

Before he retired, he managed a special educational needs unit at Dorothy Stringer School for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.

He has since become a deputy lieutenant – one of the deputies to the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, the Queen’s representative in the county.

Sandra Prail, 55, the chair of governors at BHASVIC (Brighton, Hove And Sussex VI Form College), becomes an MBE for services to education.

Sandra Prail

She said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled. It is a privilege to play a part in the education of our young people, particularly during such challenging times.

“This honour is for the collective work of everyone involved with BHASVIC and our wider college community.”

Ms Prail trained as a solicitor, works as independent public services consultant and is one of eight “national leaders of governance” for further education.

Her public service included almost seven years at the Audit Commission which she joined in 2005. Her spell there was followed by a brief spell as head of the local government consultancy at Mazars, the accountants.

She studied for an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) at Brighton University from 1997 to 1999.

Lorraine Clarke, 51, regional director and executive principal at ARK Schools Academy Trust, in Hastings, has become an OBE for services to education.

Lorraine Clarke

She served as an officer in Sussex Police from August 1992 to April 2001, completing her postgraduate degree in policing studies at Sussex University from 1998 to 2000.

She had risen to become a detective sergeant by the time she left to study for her teaching qualification at Brighton University in 2001.

Textile artist Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings, 52, from Brighton and Hove, becomes an MBE for services to people with disabilities in the arts.

Ms Mudawi-Rowlings is a British-Sudanese combined textile artist, crafts maker and independent curator who has exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings

She has been deaf since the age of four and has been a strong advocate for better representation of deaf and disabled artists in leadership roles within the arts.

Helen Jones, the founder and former chief executive of MindOut, has become an MBE for services to LGBTQ+ mental health.

She was a psychiatric nurse and has spent many years working in mental health advocacy as a psychotherapist, counsellor and group worker. She helped to set up MindOut 21 years ago.

Brighton University presented Ms Jones with an honorary MA (Master of Arts degree) and earlier this year she was named as one of the Top 10 Outstanding Contributors to LGBT+ Life 2021.

Helen Jones

When she announced that she was standing down as chief executive of MindOut in September after 10 years in the role she described it as an “enormous privilege”.

Sally Hunt, 57, who served as a council member of ACAS, the arbitration and conciliation service, becomes an OBE for services to industrial relations.

Ms Hunt, from Brighton, was also the general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) and was president of the TUC (Trades Union Congress).

Sally Hunt

She studied international relations at Sussex University of Sussex from 1983 to 1987 and served as vice-president of the students’ union.

Jayne Aldridge, 53, director for the student experience, Sussex University, and lately chair of AMOSSHE (Association of Managers of Student Services in Higher Education), becomes an MBE for services to students in higher education.

Former Sussex University student Melanie Robinson has been appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (CMG) for services to foreign and international development policy.

She has been the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, based in Harare, since January 2019

She was previously an executive director of the World Bank, representing Britain and based in Washington, from 2015 to 2018.

Melanie Robinson

Before that she was the country director for Ethiopia at the Department for International Development from 2012 to 2015.

She was previously the principal private secretary – or chief of staff – to the Secretary of State for International Development for two years, during Andrew Mitchell’s tenure.

She studied at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University, for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree in international development from 1999 to 2001. She passed with a distinction.

Brighton University professor Nick Webborn, 65, becomes a CBE for services to sport and sports medicine.

Professor Webborn chairs the British Paralympic Association and is professor of sport and exercise medicine at Brighton University.

Nick Webborn

He broke his neck playing rugby in 1981 when he was a doctor in the Royal Air Force and spent eight months at the National Spinal Injuries Unit at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Since then, he has attended 10 Paralympic Games, summer and winter, either as the Great Britain team doctor or with the IPC medical committee. He also represented Great Britain in the world team cup in wheelchair tennis.

Legal and General boss Nigel Wilson, 65, has been knighted for services to the finance industry and regional development.

Sir Nigel has overseen a shift by the company, which has one of its biggest offices in Hove, into build to rent, including a scheme in Brighton.

Nigel Wilson

He is also a veteran middle-distance athletics champion, providing quiet leadership to younger amateur club-level athletes as they progress in their careers.

Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse, 72, who carried out post-doctoral work at Sussex University, has been made a Companion of Honour (CH).

The honour is awarded for those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government over a long period of time.

The Order of the Companions of Honour is limited to 65 members, in addition to the Queen, at any one time.

Sir Paul joins the likes of pop stars Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John, the actor Dame Maggie Smith, the author JK Rowling, former Prime Minister Sir John Major and the former governor of Hong Kong and cabinet minister Chris Patten, now known as Lord Patten of Barnes.

Paul Nurse

The honour recognises major and sustained contributions to science, society and medicine in Britain and abroad as a geneticist and cell biologist.

His other honours include the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and he has served as president of the Royal Society.

He was a driving force in the merger of the Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund to create the Cancer Research UK.

He went on to create the Francis Crick Institute by bringing together two research institutes, three funders and three universities under his leadership.

And he served for 15 years on the Council of Science and Technology, advising the Prime Minister and cabinet.

Theatrical designer Lez Brotherston, 60, who used to live in Brighton, becomes an OBE for services to dance and theatre.

He has worked closely with the choreographer Matthew Bourne.

Lez Brotherston

Mr Brotherston, who is well known for his collaborations with the choreographer Matthew Bourne, was a production designer for the film Letter to Brezhnev.

He has since worked in dance, theatre, opera and musicals too, and won the Olivier Award for Cinderella and the Tony Award for Swan Lake.

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