Thursday, 26 November 2015

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Cumbrians are honoured by the Queen

A dad whose grief from his son’s death spawned a charity to help drug addicts and a businessman behind festivals that generated £35m in Whitehaven were honoured by the Queen.

Dave Smith honour
Dave Smith

A veteran police inspector, the director of a foundation that has raised millions of pounds to help thousands of causes and a civil servant were the other west Cumbrians recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours.

They were among 12 people who live or work in the county who have joined sports stars, celebrities and community champions awarded accolades for their endeavours in a vast range of fields.

Dave Smith, who established drugs and alcohol awareness charity The Ryan Smith Rising Sun Trust, 11-and-a-half years ago receives an MBE for services to people addicted to drugs.

The former Workington and Whitehaven rugby league player launched the cause following the death of his son Ryan, aged 18, after battling drugs problems.

He and his family have since worked to create a service that offers 24-hour support to carers, family, friends and those fighting alcohol or drug misuse. The trust also runs education programmes in schools.

Mr Smith, 55, of Cockermouth, said of his MBE: “It’s weird, but nice. I’m grateful that somebody has put me forward and I’ve been given it. I’m bit embarrassed as well.

“For me, the big thing is that it is recognition for the trust. It goes in my name, but it is for the work that the staff, trustees and everyone involved in the trust has done. It’s an award for all of them.

“If I’m truthful, the trust was set up with the idea of going to help other people, but probably helped me more than anybody else in the beginning. After a couple of years it started to take off.”

In Whitehaven, businessman Gerard Richardson, the chief executive of Whitehaven International Festival Company, has also been awarded an MBE, for services to the tourist industry and the community.

He said: “I am absolutely over the moon and stunned.

“Everything I have done is for Whitehaven because I love it to bits, so to be recognised specifically for that is brilliant.”

Mr Richardson has voluntarily organised festivals, concerts and celebrity visits to the town for over 10 years.

The first Whitehaven Maritime Festival was held in 1999, bringing in hundreds of thousands of people to the town to enjoy a wealth of entertainment from tall ships, air displays and celebrity chefs.

As festival company chief executive he has voluntarily given up his own time, along with a small team, to create a huge attraction.

“We started the festival off to benefit the town but the reality is that it has taken on a life of its own now,” Mr Richardson added.

As well as the festivals, Mr Richardson, who owns Richardson’s Wines in Lowther Street and lives in Whitehaven, helped organise the Queen’s visit in 2008 and was the man behind concerts such as Katherine Jenkins, Status Quo and the Here and Now 80s gig.

He admitted that it has been hard work, but added: “I do my day job then I can also dip into this almost celebrity world. It’s lovely.”

West Cumbria’s community safety police inspector, Joe Murray, has also been honoured – receiving the Queen’s Police Medal to recognise three decades of service.

The officer, 58, a familiar face across the area and former Workington Inspector, said he was “absolutely gobsmacked.”

“My first reaction is it is in recognition for the work I have done with other people – it’s a reflection of other peoples’ work,” he added.

“I have no idea who put me forward for this award and I am honoured to receive it.”

Insp Murray said the honour was an endorsement of the last 11 years he had spent working in the west of the county, which included post-flood work in Workington and Cockermouth when police distributed warning signs and markers to deter thieves from burgling homes.

The project helped protect people’s property by marking them with DNA, crucial in identifying stolen property.

“We got in there before the situation became a problem,” he added.

Insp Murray was also honoured at the Chief Constable awards, held in early 2010, when he was given a lifetime achievement award.

The former detective, who joined the force in June 1980 and pioneered Workington’s Pubwatch scheme, said he joined the force to serve and protect the community he grew up in.

“I was excited by what I saw when I started 30 years ago and I still have that same sense of excitement to this day,” he said.

“Having grown up on a housing estate in west Cumbria, I have relished the opportunity to work with communities I am part of and seen it as a vocation as well as a career.

“West Cumbria is a fantastic place where people look out for one another and I know by working together we can make sure it remains one of the safest places in the country.”

Andy Beeforth, director of the Dovenby-based Cumbria Community Foundation, receives an OBE for services to the voluntary sector.

He has worked for the grant-giving organisation since its launch 11 years ago – with high-profile fundraising campaigns launched in the wake of floods in Carlisle and west Cumbria and the 2001 foot and mouth crisis as well as a host of other trust funds that help causes across the county.

Mr Beeforth, 42, of Cockermouth, who previously worked for Voluntary Action Cumbria, said he was shocked when he received the letter notifying him of the honour.

“I am surprised, delighted and flabbergasted,” he added.

“It is very much recognition of what the community foundation has achieved. I was fortunate to become the first person to work for the foundation and have stayed for the 11 years. It is recognition for all those involved – the staff, trustees and volunteers. I’m just the lucky person to have been recognised.

“We celebrated making our 10,000th grant in November. More than £16m has gone into the community for all sorts of causes and to help people in need.”

Norma Boyes, an administrator with the Rural Payments Officer with Defra in Workington, also received an MBE. Mrs Boyes has also been secretary of Cockermouth show for 22 years.

In Carlisle, a man who has helped give thousands of young musicians the chance to shine has been given the OBE.

Philanthropist Bob Bowman has been awarded for services to music and the arts in Carlisle and Cumbria.

Mr Bowman, 77, who lives at Carleton on the outskirts of the city, has been the chairman of Carlisle Music and Drama Festival for more than 30 years. It annually gives about 2,000 young musicians, dramatists and speakers a chance to perform.

He has also been involved with many more musical and artistic endeavours over the years.

Mr Bowman received a letter telling him the good news about a fortnight ago.

“I thought it was a tax return at first and I showed little interest,” said Mr Bowman, who lives at Carleton on the outskirts of Carlisle.

“I slowly started to read it and got more excited and surprised.”

He will be attending Buckingham Palace with his wife Jennifer and daughter, Gillian Tod.

Mr Bowman is also president and a patron of Carlisle Cricket Club and a patron of Cumberland County Cricket Club. He was once opening batsman for both clubs.

He is president of the Cantonelle Ladies Choir, based at Wigton Road Methodist Church in Carlisle and also takes a keen interest in art.
Mr Bowman is also a trustee with the Hexham-based Samling Foundation.

It picks six talented young singers and puts them through an intensive week of masterclasses and voice training at Farlam Hall Hotel at Brampton.

Mr Bowman became a soloist performing classical music when he was in his twenties and thirties, singing at cities including Newcastle, Edinburgh and Manchester.

“I’ve always been interested in singing. My father was a choirmaster and I was steeped in it from an early age,” he added.

He ran the Bowmans chemist chain, which had branches across Carlisle and places including Silloth, the north-east and southwest Scotland, until retiring two years ago.

Elsewhere, the county’s Lord Lieutenant, James Cropper, received the Royal Victorian Order, which recognises distinguished service to the sovereign.

An OBE for services to families goes to Cumbria County Council’s former director of children’s services, Moira Swann, who left her post – which included responsibility for schools – after nearly five years in July.

A spokesman for the authority said: “We’re delighted that Moira’s work for children and families in Cumbria has been recognised.

“When she arrived in Cumbria she did an amazing job in improving standards in children’s services, which was technically a failing authority, and turned that around.

“She was instrumental in restructuring children’s services, where social services and education were merged into one service.”

David Hitch, a complaints investigator with Cumbria police’s professional standards department, was given an MBE for services to Cumbria police.

David Smith, of Cockermouth, an area commander with Strathclyde Fire and Rescue in Scotland, has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal.

Other MBEs go to Stella Canwell, of Kendal, a former chief examiner for A-level English Literature with the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance Examination Board for services to Education, Maureen Richards, of Coniston, for services to mountain rescue in Cumbria, and Kenneth Staveley for services to the community in Kirby Irelth and Ulverston.

In Dumfriesshire, farmer and businessman Alasdair Houston, whose family-run firm the Gretna Green Group owns the hotel Smiths at Gretna Green and the World Old Famous Blacksmith’s Shop complex receives an MBE for services to the tourist industry.

MBEs also go to Johan Findlay, of Lockerbie, for services to the administration of justice in Scotland and Kenneth MacLachlan, of Dumfries, for voluntary service to SSAFA Forces Help.

Have your say

Well Done to Norma Boyes a colleague and friend. Well deserved...

Posted by Nicola on 1 January 2011 at 01:18

John, did you to read the above article? If you did i think you'll find your comment has little credence. Most of the people highlighted in the article were awarded for services to the voluntary sector.

Posted by Ben on 31 December 2010 at 18:13

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