New Year's Honours 2023: Every person in Sheffield to be recognised by the King, including boxer Johnny Nelson

The great and the good of Sheffield have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours, from a boxing legend to a much-loved lollipop person.
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Boxer Johnny Nelson has been made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to the sport and to young people in South Yorkshire. The 55-year-old is the longest-reigning world cruiserweight champion of all time and successfully defended his title against a record-breaking 13 opponents.

Johnny, who was born and bred in Sheffield, learned his craft under the expert tutelage of trainer Brendan Ingle at the Wincobank gym which also produced champion boxers Naseem Hamed and Kell Brook, among others. He was born Ivanson Ranny Nelson but has previously told how he was given the nickname Johnny when a former teacher struggled to pronounce his first name and the new moniker stuck.

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Since hanging up his gloves, Johnny has gone on to work for Sky Sports as a boxing pundit. He also mentors young boxers, has worked with the prison service to help inmates boost their prospects upon release, and in 2021 was announced as an ambassador for Sheffield Hospitals Charity.

People from Sheffield recognised in the New Year's Honours list include (clockwise from top right) boxer Johnny Nelson, early childhood education researcher Professor Cathy Nutbrown, gambling charity founders Charles and Elisabeth Ritchie, and long-serving lollipop person Jacqueline HigginbottomPeople from Sheffield recognised in the New Year's Honours list include (clockwise from top right) boxer Johnny Nelson, early childhood education researcher Professor Cathy Nutbrown, gambling charity founders Charles and Elisabeth Ritchie, and long-serving lollipop person Jacqueline Higginbottom
People from Sheffield recognised in the New Year's Honours list include (clockwise from top right) boxer Johnny Nelson, early childhood education researcher Professor Cathy Nutbrown, gambling charity founders Charles and Elisabeth Ritchie, and long-serving lollipop person Jacqueline Higginbottom

Also recognised by King Charles III in his first New Year’s Honours since ascending to the throne is Jacqueline Higginbottom. She has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the community in Deepcar, Sheffield, where she has worked as a lollipop person for more than 40 years, helping youngsters at Royd Nursery and Infant and at Deepcar St John’s schools to cross the road.

Jacqueline started working as a lollipop person when her daughter Nicola was 11, having previously worked as a dinner lady and volunteered at the school. In 2013, she was honoured by Sheffield Council for her long service. She told at the time how she loved the job, especially meeting all the children and chatting to them. “You make quite a few little friends. There are some I helped across the road when they were young who still send me a Christmas card as adults,” she said. Three years ago, Jacqueline was awarded the Annual Citizens Award for 2019 by Stocksbridge Town Council, in recognition of what was then 44 years of service.

There was a damehood for Professor Cathy Nutbrown, of the University of Sheffield’s School of Education, for services to early childhood education. Having begun her career teaching young children, she has gone on to work in a range of settings and roles with children, parents, teachers, and other early childhood educators.

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The university said she was ‘renowned’ for her research in early childhood education, which helps children, parents, teachers and other early childhood educators. She established a masters programme in Early Childhood Education at the University of Sheffield, has contributed to reviews into early education and childcare qualifications and has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Nursery World for her work with and for young children and those who work with them.

Maxwell Ayamba, founder of the Sheffield Environmental Movement (SEM), has been recognised in the New Year's HonoursMaxwell Ayamba, founder of the Sheffield Environmental Movement (SEM), has been recognised in the New Year's Honours
Maxwell Ayamba, founder of the Sheffield Environmental Movement (SEM), has been recognised in the New Year's Honours

Also among those from Sheffield to be honoured are Charles and Elisabeth Ritchie, who set up the charity Gambling with Lives to help other families and campaign for change after their son Jack tragically took his own life aged just 24 following a battle with gambling addiction.

Maxwell Ayamba, founder of Sheffield Environmental Movement, was awarded the British Empire for services to the environment and the community in Sheffield. He said: “This honour is dedicated to all those minoritised community groups that I have worked with over the years to reconnect them to the natural environment for health and wellbeing. But above all, it’s an indication that service to the community can be rewarding and fulfilling. I founded the Sheffield Environmental Movement (SEM) in 2016 to further my dream of making the environmental realm an inclusive and diverse space for everyone irrespective of race or ethnicity.”

Below is the full list of honours for people in Sheffield.

Order of the British Empire

Professor Cathy Nutbrown, an early childhood education researcher at the University of Sheffield, has been recognised in the New Year's Honours. Photo: University of SheffieldProfessor Cathy Nutbrown, an early childhood education researcher at the University of Sheffield, has been recognised in the New Year's Honours. Photo: University of Sheffield
Professor Cathy Nutbrown, an early childhood education researcher at the University of Sheffield, has been recognised in the New Year's Honours. Photo: University of Sheffield

Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire

- Professor Cathryn Elizabeth NUTBROWN

Professor, School of Education, University of Sheffield. For services to Early Childhood Education (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

Order of the British Empire

Elisabeth and Charles Ritchie, from Sheffield, set up the charity Gambling with Lives following the death of their 24-year-old son, Jack Ritchie, in Vietnam in November 2017. They have both been recognised in the New Year's Honours. Photo: Dave Higgens/PA WireElisabeth and Charles Ritchie, from Sheffield, set up the charity Gambling with Lives following the death of their 24-year-old son, Jack Ritchie, in Vietnam in November 2017. They have both been recognised in the New Year's Honours. Photo: Dave Higgens/PA Wire
Elisabeth and Charles Ritchie, from Sheffield, set up the charity Gambling with Lives following the death of their 24-year-old son, Jack Ritchie, in Vietnam in November 2017. They have both been recognised in the New Year's Honours. Photo: Dave Higgens/PA Wire

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire

- Professor Andrew David Curran

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Chief Scientific Adviser and Director of Research, Health and Safety Executive. For Public Service (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

Officers of the Order of the British Empire

- William Alan Beckett

Chairman, International Trade Forum. For services to Manufacturing and to Exports (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

Sheffield's Johnny Nelson (right) in action against Vincenzo Cantatore in 2005. He has been made an MBE in the King's New Year Honours. Photo: GIULIO NAPOLITANO/AFP via Getty ImagesSheffield's Johnny Nelson (right) in action against Vincenzo Cantatore in 2005. He has been made an MBE in the King's New Year Honours. Photo: GIULIO NAPOLITANO/AFP via Getty Images
Sheffield's Johnny Nelson (right) in action against Vincenzo Cantatore in 2005. He has been made an MBE in the King's New Year Honours. Photo: GIULIO NAPOLITANO/AFP via Getty Images

- Professor Mohamed Pourkashanian

Managing Director, Energy Innovation Centre, University of Sheffield. For services to Net Zero Research and to Innovation (Altrincham, Greater Manchester)

Professor Pourkashanian is the head of the University of Sheffield Energy Institute, which is finding low-carbon solutions to the world’s biggest energy challenges. He is also managing director of two ‘world-leading’ research and development facilities at the university – the Translational Energy Research Centre and the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre – both of which are playing a key role in testing and developing new low-carbon fuels.

Members of the Order of the British Empire

- Louise Davies

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Lately Director, Christians on the Left. For Political and Charitable Services (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

Ivanson Ranny Nelson (Johnny Nelson)

For services to Boxing and to Young People in South Yorkshire (Renishaw, Derbyshire)

Charles James Ritchie

Co-founder, Gambling with Lives. For services to Charity and to the Families Bereaved by Gambling Related Suicides (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

Elisabeth Ritchie (Elisabeth Katis)

Co-founder, Gambling with Lives. For services to Charity and to Families Bereaved by Gambling Related Suicides (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire

- Maxwell Apaladaga Ayamba

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Founder, Sheffield Environmental Movement. For services to the environment and to the community in Sheffield, South Yorkshire (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)

- Jacqueline Higginbottom

For services to the community in Deepcar, South Yorkshire (Sheffield, South Yorkshire)