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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Pride of Cumbria included on New Year honours list

Selfless community figureheads have spoken of their pride after being honoured by The Queen.

Nineteen Cumbrians are included in the New Year honours list and will receive OBEs, MBEs and the British Empire Medal (BEM), which was reintroduced in 2012.

Dr Theo Weston, of Penrith, has been awarded an MBE for services to victims of trauma.

He has been volunteering for more than 20 years in pre-hospital emergency medical care in the Eden Valley.

It means he is called out to road crashes and other emergencies to help paramedics.

Dr Weston has been able to provide a much higher level of care at the scene of a crash.

He helped out at a major crash on the A685 at Grayrigg involving a bus and lorry which resulted in 15 casualties in September.

He set up the BEEP Fund (Birbeck Emergency Equipment for Patients) in 1994 which has raised more than £400,000 to buy equipment needed for doctors who perform this type of work.

But over the last five years Dr Weston has been attending emergencies virtually single-handed as the number of doctors in the BEEP Fund has dropped.

The fund receives between 100 and 150 call-outs each year 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Dr Weston said: “It’s a huge honour and a big surprise – I never dreamt I would be worthy of such a prestigious honour but I’m absolutely delighted.

“I also want to give credit to all the others who have supported me over the last 20 years, allowing me to do this kind of work.

“And my family have been so supportive, allowing me to drop things at the drop of a hat.”

John Innerdale, of Sockbridge, near Penrith, has also been awarded the MBE for voluntary services to preserving and promoting mountain heritage.

He was one of the founders of the Mountain Heritage Trust in 2000, which records and preserves Britain’s rich heritage in climbing, mountaineering and mountain culture.

He said: “I am quite overwhelmed because I have spent my life doing things that have given me great pleasure.

“You don’t expect any reward for helping others and I’ve been in mountaineering all my life and it is my great passion.

“It’s a huge surprise and it has brought a big smile to my face.”

Mr Innerdale, 81, was also appointed a magistrate in 1985, runs an architecture business, is a landscape painter and is a member of Ullswater Yacht Club.

Penrith-based Sunbeams Music Trust founder Annie Mawson, 64, has also been awarded the MBE for services to music therapy in Cumbria.

She said: “I’m absolutely delighted and overwhelmed because it’s such a great honour.

“It’s not just for me but represents a wonderful testimony to the effect we know Sunbeams has on people with disabilities.

“I’m thrilled to be awarded the MBE because it’s our 21st anniversary year and we are about to start building our music therapy centre.

“This is an honour for the whole team and the Cumbrian community who have been unswerving and loyal in their support.”

Sarah Dunning, chief executive at Tebay Services, has been awarded an OBE for service to the food, drink and hospitality sectors.

She said: “It is a great honour.

“We are very lucky to operate in Cumbria where there is such an abundance of fabulous food producers.

“The work we do is reliant on them and a whole team of hugely dedicated people at Westmorland too.”

Margaret Burne, 69, of Cliburn, near Penrith, is awarded an MBE for her work as a magistrate and services to the local community.

She said: “I’m absolutely gobsmacked and never expected anything like it.

“It’s hard to put into words and other people work just as hard as me but I’m very proud.”

Other Cumbrians included in the New Year Honours List are:

Gordon Nicolson, of Penrith, leader of Eden Council, OBE for service to local government.

Catherine Richardson, of Wigton, former principal of Lakes College, OBE for services to further education.

Michael Greene, of St Bees, MBE for services to health and the community in Whitehaven.

Owen Jones, of Ulverstone, MBE for services to basket making.

Arthur Littlefair, MBE for services to the community in Kirkby Stephen and the Kirby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team.

The Reverend Canon Roy McCullough, of Penrith, MBE for services to the Church of England.

Dr Dominic Rhodes, of St Bees, MBE for services to science.

Eric Wilson, of Alston, MBE for political service.

Elaine Lomas, of Penrith, a volunteer at the Appleby Gypsy and Traveller Horse Fair, BEM for services to community cohesion in Cumbria.

Ruth Pedley, of Kendal, an RSPCA volunteer, BEM for voluntary and charitable service to animal welfare.

Michael Roberts, of Middleton-in-Lonsdale, BEM for services to the Special Constabulary in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Cumbria.

Bernard Warriner, of Grange-Over-Sands, BEM for voluntary service to the Lake District Ski Club.

A  campaigner recognised in the New Year’s honours list says her community work is not yet finished.

Sue Cashmore has earned the British Empire Medal for her services to the community in Cockermouth, particularly following the 2009 floods.

Ms Cashmore is chairwoman of the Cockermouth Flood Action Group, which was set up following floods in 2005.

It has since expanded and managed to get agencies working together for the benefit of the town.

The group’s work has come to the fore recently after homes in Cockermouth were flooded before Christmas. Ms Cashmore said: “Unfortunately a few houses flooded the weekend before Christmas, and after new year I will be setting up meetings.”

She was delighted with the award, she said, and admitted “a lot of hard work went into it”.

“The biggest achievement so far was getting all agencies to work together and to understand what it means to work with the community,” she said.

The action group was told three years ago that a flood defence scheme would take 10 to 15 years to be put in place, but the project has since been completed.

And despite her hard work as part of the team, Ms Cashmore says that she was not expecting any Royal recognition.

She said: “I was very surprised when I got the letter and I thought it was a circular.

“I was genuinely surprised and I didn’t think I would get recognition, but I’m absolutely delighted.

“I just want to tell everybody. I thought if I did get something it would be nice but that’s not what I set out for.

“This is the icing on the cake.”

Another recognised in the region is Patric Gilchrist, executive director of Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.

Mr Gilchrist, who has been at the theatre since 1998, was given the award for services to the arts.

Under his stewardship the theatre has grown to attract more than 130,000 visitors a year, hosting nine of its own productions annually.

Although he personally has been recognised, Mr Gilchrist is keen to highlight the work of others.

He said: “I feel very honoured and very grateful to those who have suggested my name.

“I have been part of a team that has built Theatre by the Lake and kept it running for 15 years.

“My job has been to create the environment to get the best possible conditions for other people to create their art.

“The fantastic thing about working in the arts and theatre in particular is that you always feel you can do better.

“Cumbria is a unique environment for a theatre, due to its geographical isolation and unique culture.”

Mr Gilchrist says that the theatre has hosted especially good productions during his time, but believes that the organisation’s key success has been its consistency.

He says: “There are some very notable productions but I think overall it’s the consistency and development we have that I find particularly pleasing.

“After 15 years at Theatre by the Lake I feel that at least we are here to stay.”

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