New Year Honours: South Yorkshire’s local heroes

Man with a pram: Fundraiser John Burkhill, BEM.
Man with a pram: Fundraiser John Burkhill, BEM.
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SOUTH Yorkshire’s community champions from the world of sport, fundrasising, education, health, business and other walks of life were celebrated today in the Queen’s 2013 New Year Honours.

Here’s our A-Z round up of who gets what.


A life working in education, health and charity has brought an MBE for Dr Cheryle Berry, who spent almost a decade as headteacher at High Storrs School in Sheffield.

Dr Berry, 64, is ‘surprised and delighted’ by her honour.

Head at High Storrs from 1989 to ’98, she said the school had a ‘very dear place’ in her heart.

“My fondest memories are of seeing the young people grow up,” she said. “The number of careers they’ve gone on to is stunning. I’m proud of them all.”

Dr Berry, of Clay Cross, added: “I’m looking forward to picking up the MBE. I wish my parents were alive to see it - your first instinct is to tell your family - but I feel the people at High Storrs were my family.”


Everyone in Sheffield knows him as the Man with the Pram - and now he’s the man with a medal!

John Burkhill, who will be 74 later this week, and is famous for his pram, giant foam hand and bright green wig, has dedicated over 20 years of his life to tireless fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Now his efforts have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year honours list with the accolade of a British Empire Medal for charitable services in Sheffield.

The award tops off a momentous year for John, who lives in the Richmond area of the city.

In June he was chosen to carry the Olympic Torch as it passed through Chapeltown, and in the autumn he was nominated to represent Yorkshire in the Pride of Britain awards.

His fundraising contributions have topped the £150,000 mark and John is as determined as ever to reach his target of £250,000.

But John said the BEM was the most special news of all.

“I couldn’t believe it when I received the letter,” he said. “I am not ashamed to say I cried when I read it - to think the great citizens of Sheffield think so much of a crazy old man who pushes a pram for thousands of miles all over the place.

“I couldn’t have raised so much without the help of the best people - and that’s what we’ve got in this city.”

John lost his wife June to cancer, then daughter Karen a year later during a routine operation.

Since then he has competed in almost 900 races, including the London Marathon 22 times.

This year he also took part in the Great North Run, but true to form he walked to Newcastle pushing his pram all the way.

John added: “This has been a very special year for me.”


University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor Professor Keith Burnett is knighted for services to science and higher education.

His honour caps a golden year for Sheffield University - named Times Higher Education University of the Year, and rated top of the elite Russell Group.

Prof Burnett, 59, took the top job in 2007 after a distinguished career as an atomic physicist.

He is ‘delighted’ to accept the honour.

“I do so as leader of an outstanding team,” he said. “Our staff and students are drawn from the brightest and most talented people all over the world, and others see in us the vision, expertise, determination and culture to use knowledge to make a difference.”

LORD SEBASTIAN COE, Companion of Honour

Lord Coe, a former Tapton School pupil who was brought up in Sheffield, becomes a Companion of Honour after masterminding the success of London 2012 Olympics. Full story - CLICK HERE.


Sheffield’s golden girl, who won heptathlon Olympic gold after being the face of the Games, is awarded the CBE. Full story - CLICK HERE.


Chairman of the Peak District National Park Authority, and High Peak councillor for Hope Valley, Tony Favell receives the MBE for political and public service.

The 73-year-old has lived in Edale for 43 years and been chair of the authority for two years. He was previously deputy, having been appointed to the authority in 2007.

Jim Dixon, chief executive, said: “This is a richly deserved award. Tony has given selfless service. He has championed the role of local people, and the importance of helping young people from cities experience the National Park.”

Tony - John Major’s Parliamentary Private Secretary for four years - has been an Edale parish councillor, President of Hope Show and President of Longshaw Sheep Dog Trials, and is on many boards and forums.


Sheffield-born Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe gets a knighthood.

Born in Sheffield in 1957, he attended Hinde House School, began his police career in 1979 with South Yorkshire Police, and rose to be District Commander of the Doncaster West area.


Helen Kirk, secretary of Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum, receives the BEM for services to conservation, having spent three decades battling to save the ancient wetlands on the outskirts of Doncaster.

Mrs Kirk, a community development worker, married with a daughter, is a naturalist with a keen interest in preserving the fragile ecosystem of the moors once endangered by commercial peat extraction.

The 57-year-old, of Thorne, started wandering the moors looking for rare insects and spiders. She said: “I am taken aback to receive this honour.”


of Staincross, Barnsley, receives the MBE for services to HM Revenue and Customs, and to Girl Guiding in South Yorkshire.


from Sheffield, head of strategy and performance in human resources at the Department for Work and Pensions, receives the OBE for services to tackling youth unemployment.


Retired firefighter Mick Mottram receives the MBE for services to local government.

The 69-year-old retired from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service in June after 50 years, including 32 as a frontline firefighter. He was its longest-serving employee ever.

The dad-of-two and grandfather-of-five from Dronfield worked at Division Street, Mansfield Road, Wellington Street and Lowedges stations, ending up as head equipment officer, overseeing introduction of gas-tight chemical protection suits and mask radio communications.

Son Jonathan has followed in his footsteps and works at Mansfield Road, Intake.

Chief Fire Officer Jamie Courtney said: “Everyone is delighted for Mick. This is a fitting end to his retirement year.”


HE’S already the pride of South Yorkshire - and today Ben Parkinson is ‘absolutely over the moon’ after being awarded the Military MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

Lance Bombardier Parkinson of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, the most severely disabled soldier to survive his injuries, will collect his military MBE next year to cap an incredible catalogue of achievements.

The 28-year-old, from Bessacarr, Doncaster, lost both legs to a Taliban landmine - but took part in the Olympic Torch relay this summer and featured in the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day. Millions of TV viewers will never forget images of Ben walking valiantly on his artificial legs without crutches up Bennetthorpe, Doncaster, while holding the Olympic flame.

Ben, who lives with his mother and stepfather Diane and Andrew Dernie, was told by doctors he would never walk again after the blast in Afghanistan in 2006.

His determination to prove them wrong, and the work he does for service charities, has been an inspiration to thousands across the UK.

Diane - herself one of The Stars of The Star this Christmas - said: “We were approached a couple of years ago to see if Ben would accept an honour but heard nothing more, so assumed he would have to leave the Army to get one.

“Then his commanding officer rang yesterday to say he’d got the MBE.

“His first reaction was ‘Why?’ because he loves charity work.

“We didn’t think 2012 could get any better after the Olympic Torch, and then footage of that was shown on the Queen’s Speech which we had no idea was going to be used.”


IT’S A knockout end to the year for Glyn Rhodes, founder of Sheffield Boxing Centre.

The 53-year-old, from Stannington, receives the MBE for services to boxing and young people.

“It is a tremendous honour and legitimises everything I’ve tried to do,” said the Shiregreen-born father-of-three. “It’s not one I think I deserve, but I’m delighted to receive it.”

Glyn opened Sheffield Boxing Centre in 1993, using his own money plus fundraising cash to fit it out in months. Since then he has dedicated his time to keeping it going.

“When I left Firth Park Comp my teacher said my attitude was rubbish and I would be a disaster in later life,” said Glyn. “I was a horrible trouble-causer so I wasn’t surprised - but perhaps he would be surprised at this.

“I think because of my background kids listen to me when I tell them they are daft to be in a gang, or to have no respect for police or teachers.”


The University of Sheffield’s first female Pro-Chancellor, Kathryn Riddle, receives the OBE for services to higher education and the NHS.

Aged 66, from Ranmoor, she has served as chair of the University Council while working in the NHS as chair of the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Vice-Chancellor Sir Keith Burnett said: “Kathryn exemplifies the spirit of intelligent public service. She is a powerful advocate of the importance of education, but through her thoughtful approach brings warm good sense and interest which have sustained support through times of change.”


of Maltby, Rotherham, receives the BEM for services to the Salvation Army and local community.


of Owlthorpe, Sheffield, receives the BEM for services to swimming coaching in Derbyshire.


Jean Slater receives the BEM for voluntary service with St John Ambulance, having been involved in first aiding for 50 years.

“I am gobsmacked - and having to keep quiet has been hard, I’ve wanted to tell the world!” she said.

Jean, 66, of Clay Cross, delivered a baby when she was just 16. Notable moments since have included being on duty at Princess Diana’s funeral - ‘a very special event’.

“When they announced the procession was on its way there was an eerie silence - scary, but exciting,” she said.

In 2002 she worked the Commonwealth Games, putting in a 12-hour shift at the City of Manchester stadium treating countless patients.


Former PE teacher Barbara Snowling receives the BEM for community work in the village of Crafthole near Plymouth.

The 74-year-old from Norton, and her Royal Navy husband Mike, moved to Cornwall 40 years ago but still have family, nieces, nephews and friends in Sheffield.

Barbara, who taught at Newfield and Jordanthorpe schools, started keep fit classes in the village hall 30 years ago to encourage older people to remain mobile. She still runs badminton and table-tennis clubs, and works with stroke patients in Liskeard.

She is thrilled to receive her honour, but simply enjoys volunteering. “It’s fun!” she said.


When Malcolm Torry of Whirlow, Sheffield, fell off a stepladder 12 years ago and broke his back it was the start of a new challenge.

Now 80, the retired researcher receives the British Empire Medal for services to sailing and people with disabilities through Carsington Sailability in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

“In hospital I realised I was lucky,” said Malcolm.

“I’d been sailing for years so started going to Carsington to help a chap who was threatened with a wheelchair.

“I enjoy what I do. I get a lot of kids in wheelchairs, and they get in a boat and are independent, in control again.”

The grandfather-of-four said he was ‘surprised and shocked’ by his honour. “Maybe I’ll go to Carsington and polish my halo!” he laughed.


Former Sheffield woman Mary Geraldine Wardle, 77, receives the BEM for services to the community.

Mary, originally from Norton, lives in Milltown, Derbyshire, and has been volunteering for over 50 years.

She runs a cardiac club called Dickie Tickers, has raised charity funds, is president of her village flower club, and runs OAP lunch clubs.

“I am delighted,” she said. “I’ve had to keep it a secret. I wanted to tell everyone.”


A lifetime of work in the voluntary sector has seen Nick Warren awarded an OBE.

The 62-year-old former chief executive of Voluntary Action Sheffield, who retired last year after two decades, started his career with Friends of the Earth.

The dad-of-one, of Bamford, said: “I am amazed, surprised and thrilled.”


Breast cancer campaigner Wendy Watson has fought to help others since becoming the first person in the UK to have a preventative double mastectomy.

Wendy, 57, receives the MBE for services to people with breast cancer or those at risk of developing hereditary breast cancer - including her own daughter, Peak FM presenter Becky Measures - and founding a national 24-hour helpline with volunteers.

Wendy, of Over Haddon, Bakewell, said: “I can’t believe I’ve got an MBE, I am amazed. All I have ever done has been to help others. I don’t need recognition.”


Captain Nick Wilson, from Barnsley, of Third Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, receives the MBE for services to the armed forces.

He has risen through the ranks after joining as a private and was deployed to Afghanistan between April and October, based at Camp Bastion organising equipment. He also coaches the battalion football team.

Capt Wilson, 43, from Kendray, who has been in the Army 28 years and is set to be promoted to Major next year, said: “This is the proudest moment in my career.”


Sylvia Yates, former executive director of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, receives the OBE for services to regeneration.

She worked in South Yorkshire for 12 years until retiring in May.

As director of the Objective 1 agency she oversaw spending of EU regeneration money. She was director of Sheffield City Forum, and worked to set up the Local Enterprise Partnership.

“It has been a fantastic 12 years working in South Yorkshire, the area I grew up,” she said. “Sheffield is home to some truly great people, and has lots of amazing assets.”

SHEFFIELD Olympic heroes Jessica Ennis and Seb Coe head a sparkling list of sporting heroes to be recognised in the 2013 New Year Honours.

Jess, aged 26, who recently moved from Millhouses to Dore, has been made a CBE after winning heptathlon Olympic gold this year.

She said: “It’s a huge honour to be receiving a CBE. What an amazing ending to a fantastic year.”

And Lord Coe, a former Tapton School pupil who was brought up in Sheffield, becomes a Companion of Honour after masterminding the success of London 2012.

Bradley Wiggins, pictured below, the Mod from Kilburn who made sporting history by winning the Tour de France, is knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours.

Sailor Ben Ainslie gets a knighthood, para-cyclist Sarah Storey is made a dame and Victoria Pendleton, Mo Farah and David Weir all get CBEs. Affectionately known as Wiggo, the first British winner of the Tour, said: “It’s quite something really. I never imagined that I would ever become a knight so it’s an incredible honour but there’s a slight element of disbelief, and it will take a while to sink in.

“There was never any doubt whether I’d accept it or not, it was more a case that I never saw myself as a sir, and I probably never will.”

The sporting stars who achieved so much at London 2012 meant a special honours list was added this year.

There was also recognition for Jean Tomlin, who led the Games Maker programme, who gets an OBE.

Sir Bradley’s knighthood is undoubtedly the icing on the cake in a year which saw him win the Tour de France, take Olympic gold in London, then be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Dame Sarah, 35, is honoured for services to para-cycling after winning four gold medals at London 2012, taking her Paralympic gold medal total to 11, and one of the country’s most successful Paralympians.

She said: “I can’t believe the number of times we’ve said this year, ‘Oh, can 2012 possibly get any better?’. We feel so fortunate that 2012 will always stand out as being the most incredible year.” Knighthoods go to Ainslie, the most decorated sailor in Olympic history with four gold medals at four consecutive Games, and Dave Brailsford and David Tanner, performance directors at British Cycling and British Rowing, who drove their teams to success at London 2012.

CBEs go to some of sport’s biggest household names – rower Katherine Grainger, cyclist Pendleton, wheelchair athlete Weir, and Farah, who captured the nation’s hearts with his double gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m.

OBEs go to equestrians Sophie Christiansen and Charlotte Dujardin, tennis hero Andy Murray, paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds and cycling couple Laura Trott and Jason Kenny.

Among those to get MBEs are boxer Nicola Adams; canoeist Timothy Baillie; equestrians Laura Bechtolsheimer and Carl Hester; rowers Katherine Copeland and Helen Glover; wheelchair racer ‘Hurricane’ Hannah Cockcroft; and paralympic swimmer Josef Craig.

Triathlon gold medallist Alistair Brownlee gets an MBE but brother Jonathan, who took bronze, misses out, while the MBE also goes to Welsh Tae Kwon Do gold medallist Jade Jones, Paralympic poster boy Jonnie Peacock, long jump hero Greg Rutherford and gymnast Louis Smith. Away from sport, the Companion of Honour goes to Professor Peter Higgs, namesake of the Higgs boson or so-called ‘God particle’, which was finally proved to exist in July, 48 years after he first proposed it.

There is a knighthood for illustrator Quentin Blake and CBEs for artist Tracey Emin, choreographer Arlene Phillips and singer/songwriter Kate Bush.

Tony Blair’s wife Cherie is given a CBE in recognition of her service to women’s issues and to charity in the UK and overseas, actor Ewan McGregor and fashion designer Stella McCartney get OBEs, and former England cricketer Mark Ramprakash gets an MBE.

Jonathan Evans, head of MI5, is made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath.

Recognised with an MBE in the Diplomatic and Overseas list is Captain Raymond ‘Jerry’ Roberts, one of the four founder members of Bletchley Park’s Testery section, tasked with breaking the German top-level code Tunny.

An MBE also goes to Penelope Clough, 53, who set up the Justice For Jane Campaign with husband John after her daughter was murdered by her ex-partner, while he was on bail, in 2010.

Recipients of the British Empire Medal (BEM) include Mandy Painter, who has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which grants wishes for seriously ill children, after her 11-year-old son died of a brain tumour.