Community members from across Wiltshire recognised in the 2023 New Year Honours List

By Anita Jaynes on 30 December, 2022

Each year, the New Year Honours List recognises the incredible public service of individuals from across the UK for their outstanding contribution to society.

The 2023 New Year Honours List is particularly exciting, as 18 of our Wiltshire residents including members of our business, not-for-profit and military community have been awarded for their amazing work in the first New Year Honours to be signed off by King Charles.

Paddy Bradley, Chief Executive Officer of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his service to the local economy and to the community in Wiltshire.

At The Business Exchange we are particularly proud of Paddy as he’s our Techies Award (technology awards for Swindon and Wiltshire) judge and has been on the judging panel since the award scheme’s inception five years ago. A true stalwart and supporter of our community.

Paddy (pictured above), said, “Receiving the MBE is an honour for me, but also for my colleagues in the Swindon and Wiltshire LEP who work tirelessly to help grow the economy in our area. The award is for services to business and the community, the two priorities of all my work. I am delighted to share my happiness with The Business Exchange and the brilliant networker that is Anita Jaynes!”

Bradford on Avon’s David Bickers, Chief Executive and Co-Founder of the Douglas Bader Foundation has also been awarded an MBE.

David, said, “I am deeply grateful to be awarded by his Majesty the King in the 2023 New Year Honours List the Honour of Member of the Order of the British Empire for supporting the disabled community.

David Bickers MBE

“The Foundation in the name of my late stepfather in law Douglas Bader was created following his death in 1982 aged 72 and we are now celebrating our 40th year. 

“During this journey I have met some truly remarkable people who have inspired and guided us and assisted in our many initiatives that have consequently benefitted so many children and adults. Also, the Great British Public, Trusts and Charitable giving organisations who have and continue to support us with donations and other support. “ 

Meryl Hayward is Director of Corporate Services for Historic England and is based in Swindon. Meryl has been awarded an MBE for her services to Heritage.

Helen Yeadon Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Marlborough’s Great Horse Charity has also been awarded an MBE for services to disadvantaged young people and to former racecourses.

Eight Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBEs) have been awarded in Wiltshire.

Helen Belcher OBE

Helen Belcher, Wiltshire Councillor and Corsham Town Councillor for Corsham Pickwick ward has been recognised for her services to the Transgender community, receiving an OBE for her work as a Trustee of the charity Trans Media Watch.

Helen, said, “Everyone says it’s a surprise receiving an honour. Well, it really is. I’m very aware that, in everything I’ve done, there’s been a team supporting me. I hope they appreciate this honour as well as I’m tremendously grateful for all their help.”

The Co-Founders of Westbury firm Scanning Pens are also celebrating with Jack Churchill and Toby Sutton both honoured with an OBE as a result of services to international trade and to the dyslexia and special educational needs and disabilities community.

Toby Sutton OBE, Co-Founder, Scanning Pens

Both Jack and Toby shared this statement: “To say we are honoured by this announcement is an understatement. When we first started this venture over 20 years ago we saw the opportunity to establish a business that could help millions of individuals with their literacy needs. Looking back, it is fantastic to know that through our technology we have supported so many to succeed.

“The success of Scanning Pens has allowed us to establish a goodwill organisation, Succeed With Dyslexia, which has made a reality of our wish to spread awareness around dyslexia through positive stories within this often-forgotten community.

Jack Churchill OBE, Co-Founder, Scanning Pens

“Without the support of our families and the whole team, neither of us would be receiving an OBE. We look forward to many years ahead as we drive our business forward, whilst at the same time helping even more individuals in their daily lives.”

Catherine Spencer from Pewsey has also received an OBE for her work in her previous role as Chief Executive Officer of The Seafarers Charity, for services to Seafarers.

Catherine Spencer OBE

Catherine said, “I am honoured to accept this award for services to seafarers during the pandemic. However, the real heroes of this period are undoubtedly the seafarers who kept supply lines open. It’s easy to forget that in December 2020, over 400,000 seafarers were stranded on ships waiting to be repatriated, and about as many were stranded at home eagerly waiting to join ships to earn a living. It was a privilege to work with the exceptional team at The Seafarers Charity’ to support them.”

Other Wiltshire OBE recipients include:

  • James Scott, Director of Forest Carbon for services to Forestry and to the Environment in Scotland. James is based in Pewsey.
  • Rachel Hick, Deputy Head of the Finance Team at Army Headquarters, Ministry of Defence for services to Defence. Rachel is based in Salisbury.
  • Elizabeth Jackson, Head of Space Exploration, UK Space Agency, based in Swindon, for services to the Space Sector.
  • Professor Geoffrey Till, Professor Emeritus, King’s College London and US Naval War College, for services to Defence. Geoffrey is based in Devizes.

Wiltshire is also proud to be home to four 2023 Order of the British Empire Medallists (BEM).

Jules Pearson BEM

Corsham’s Juliette (known as Jules) Pearson has received a BEM for her service to Defence and to the community in Wiltshire, through her role as Lead of Digital Academy Services for the Ministry of Defence.

Jules, commented, “I am delighted and honoured to receive this award. I am grateful to everyone that supported my nomination, especially my team for helping to build and exploit the Digital Academy products and services and making it the success that it is.”

Other Wiltshire BEM recipients include:

  • Sarah Brewis, Headteacher of Woodborough Church of England Primary School in Pewsey, for services to Primary Education.
  • Polly Cox from Great Bedwyn, for services to the community in Shalbourne, Wiltshire.
  • Barbara King, Group Scout Leader, Scout Activity Support Unit, 10th Chippenham, Scout Group, Wiltshire. For services to young people in Wiltshire.
Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Madeleine Lola Margaret Ponsonby (née Grand), Countess Bessborough OBE, has been awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her work as Founder of the New Art Centre, for her services to Art Education and to Salisbury Cathedral.

King’s Fire Service Medal (KFSM)

Derek James, Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is celebrating being awarded the King’s Fire Service Medal.

Derek James, KFSM

Derek has been recognised for his outstanding leadership and commitment to serving the communities of Dorset and Wiltshire. Derek was instrumental in the formation of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and Authority in 2016. Derek’s vision helped protect frontline services, while achieving savings of over £8m per year and subsequently securing high ratings from government Inspectors.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Derek James said, “I am honoured to have been recognised by His Majesty. Throughout my career I have always done my upmost to help ensure we are a strong fire and rescue service that serves our communities well. I work alongside a bunch of fantastic people who work tirelessly at all levels to help make this happen. This award says as much about them as it does me.”

At The Business Exchange we are delighted to publish this news to start 2023 off in a really positive place. Congratulations to all of those awarded and we look forward to providing more coverage on your successes in the coming months and in our Feb/March printed magazine. Happy New Year!