A Sheffield woman who has devoted her life to helping people with a debilitating and incurable illness has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
After Olga Bannister lost her husband Neville to motor neurone disease – MND – in 2001, she became a very active member of the South Yorkshire branch of the MND Association.
Over the last 17 years, Olga, now aged 84, has both supported those affected by the disease and ensured people living with it, their families and carers receive the services they require.
Olga’s oldest son, the broadcaster Matthew Bannister said: “I am so proud and delighted that my Mum has been given this honour – which recognises a lifetime devoted to caring for others.
“Her amazing kindness and compassion have made a huge impact on so many people - not least on my Dad who she looked after through every second of his struggle with Motor Neurone Disease – but for me and my brothers she will always simply be our wonderful and beloved mum.”
Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Husbands has been awarded a knighthood for services to higher education.
After being the first in his family to attend university and beginning his career as a teacher in urban comprehensive schools, Sir Chris has held leadership positions in four UK universities.
Chris has led Sheffield Hallam University since 2016, a university which last year admitted more undergraduate students from neighbourhoods across the country with historically low numbers going on to university, than any other provider in the UK.
He said: “I am extremely humbled to accept this honour. I’ve been extremely fortunate. I’ve had a career beyond the imaginings of my parents and grandparents and that’s down to the exceptional people who, at the time, created opportunities for youngsters like me.
“The higher education I experienced changed my life, and, through that, changed the way my children thought about what was possible for them. Opportunity echoes through generations just as lack of opportunity does. It’s this, the great transformative potential of a university, which is one of the things which shaped me, and continues to drive me.”
Receiving OBEs in this year’s honours are Professors Laura Serrant and Sam Twiselton from Sheffield Hallam University for their services to health and education respectively, and Hugh Facey from Sheffield-based widget manufacturer, Gripple.
Laura Serrant is a professor of nursing in Sheffield Hallam’s Faculty of Health and Wellbeing and was named as one of the UK’s most influential people of African and Caribbean heritage in the 2018 Powerlist.
She qualified as a nurse in 1986 from the then Sheffield City Polytechnic, now Sheffield Hallam University, and was the first person in her family to go to university.
Laura, 54, is one of only six black professors of nursing in the UK and was named as one of the most inspirational women in healthcare by the Health Services Journal.
She said: “Receiving this OBE for my work on health policy is an honour. My contribution is one of many made by BME nurses to healthcare which has been made even more special in 2018 as we celebrate the NHS’ 70th birthday and 70 years since Empire Windrush brought black people from the Caribbean to rebuild the country post-war.
“I would like to dedicate this award to my parents who travelled from Dominica to do the same. It is through their endeavours that I am here.”
Professor Sam Twiselton founded and established Hallam University’s Sheffield Institute of Education, one of the UK’s top five providers of teachers with over 700 new teachers entering the classroom each year.
With 40 per cent of the Institute’s students drawn from low-income backgrounds, Professor Twiselton, aged 53, is passionate about tackling inequality and low educational attainment in Sheffield and her work directly helps recruit teachers to address this problem.
She said: “I am equally delighted and proud on behalf of Sheffield Hallam to receive this award. It is the support I have been given by University that made it possible and I am very grateful. My only regret is that my mum who died in August did not live to brag about it to anyone who would listen.”
Award-winning entrepreneur Hugh Facey of Sheffield-based manufacturer Gripple had the idea of making small ‘widgets’ to join agricultural fencing wire together in 1985.
Now, 33 years later, the employee-owned firm has four sites in Sheffield as well as regional hubs in Chicago, New Delhi and Strasbourg and the business turned over £67m last year alone.
In a message to company staff he said: “It is a great honour but the reason I have received it is because of you and the work you do - day in, day out.
“OBE, What does it mean? I have been playing with these words and I have come up with what I think it means - Our Brilliant Employees.
“So the award is for you. Thank you for all you have done, for all you do and for all you will continue to do. You make me incredibly proud. We will have a celebratory drink when I return.”
Lucy Prior, from Sheffield, international trade director for the Rail Alliance, received the MBE for services to rail exports, and Alexander Usborne, from Sheffield, co-founder of 104 Films, received the MBE for services to exports in media and promoting disability in film.
David Dickinson, from Barnsley, chief executive officer of Waterton Academy Trust, received the OBE for services to education and Coun Jeffrey Ennis, of Barnsley Council, received the same honour for parliamentary and political services.
Robert Davies from Doncaster, senior executive officer, HM Prison Berwyn, received the MBE for services to the Prison Service Sports Association.
Alan Muddiman, from Doncaster, chair of the Civil Engineering Contracts Association and head of Health, Safety and Environmental for Renew Holdings, also received the MBE for services to health and safety.
Susan Abnett from Barnsley, childminder and volunteer for the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years, received the British Empire Medal for services to early years education.
Garry Swann from Doncaster, honorary archivist, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, also received the BEM for services to the NHS.