Gwent people among New Year Honours recipients
10:30pm Monday 30th December 2013 in News
MADE A DAME: Newport West AM and presiding officer of the National Assembly for Wales Rosemary Butler
ROSEMARY Butler heads a group of 10 people whose contributions to life in Gwent and beyond are celebrated in the New Year Honours List.
The Newport West AM and presiding officer of the National Assembly for Wales said she is thrilled to be made a Dame, for what the list cites as political and public services, particularly to women.
Mrs Butler's formal honour is a DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire), and comes 40 years into a career of political and public service in Newport.
“This isn’t just my work and I want to thank all the people I have worked alongside over many years," she said.
“I am passionate about encouraging more women into public life and I’ve worked with some incredible people who share this passion.
“The recognition is as much for those individuals who have worked tirelessly for no extra pay or reward, as it is for me.
“This honour is also for my family, who have lovingly supported and encouraged me over the years. I could not have done it without them.”
Mrs Butler emerged onto the Welsh political scene as a ward councillor for Caerleon in 1973.
She served the then town of Newport’s local authority until her election as Assembly member for Newport West in 1999, including a term as mayor in 1989-90.
She was appointed to the first Assembly cabinet as minister for pre-16 education and children, and was also deputy presiding officer before being elected as presiding officer in 2011.
As presiding officer, her Women in Public Life campaign has aimed to push the issue of barriers to women to the top of the political agenda.
Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury who previously served as Bishop of Monmouth, welcomed Mrs Butler's honour.
“Rosemary has won the trust, respect and affection of all sections of the community in Wales, and I look back with the greatest pleasure to our days of working together in Newport,” he said.
The NHS in Gwent is well represented on the New Year Honours List.
Professor Sue Bale, director of research and development with Aneurin Bevan Health Board, has been awarded an OBE for services to nursing and nursing research.
Professor Bale leads, co-ordinates and oversees research in the health board, and has a career in wound healing research spanning almost 30 years.
A founding member of the Wound Healing Research Unit in Cardiff, she helped establish the European Wound Management Association, and the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. She has also worked for the Welsh Government on clinical academic career pathways, and developed policy for building research capacity and career paths for nurses and allied health professionals.
Stuart Nixon also works for the health board, as private practice manager - but it is for his voluntary service to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) that he has been awarded an MBE.
Mr Nixon, 49, of Newport, has lived with MS for 30 years, the disease leaving him largely wheelchair-bound and unable to walk more than a few metres without help.
A volunteer for the Multiple Sclerosis Society for 15 years, he has most recently been its vice-chairman and a trustee, a role he is now relinquishing, but not before completing an amazing fundraising effort last October.
With the aid of a specially built walking frame, Mr Nixon completed a 60-kilometre walk through London, to the Olympic Stadium and back, over several days, raising £62,000 for the society to boost its research efforts and raising also the profile of the condition.
His dedication and determination earned him the society's lifetime achievement award last month, and he described the MBE as "the icing on the cake."
"What we have achieved with the society and through the walk has been a team effort, and that involves people at the society, my family, those involved in designing and making the frame for the walk, and many others," said Mr Nixon.
"You do what you do because it is right, and you want to help and support others, so to be recognised like this is fantastic, but I couldn't have done it on my own."
Also awarded an MBE is Julie Brown, ward sister on the stroke unit at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny. The honour caps a whirlwind few weeks for Mrs Brown, who last month won the Registered Nurse (Adult) category at the Royal College of Nursing Wales Awards.
A nurse since 1984, she has been involved in the stroke unit at Nevill Hall since its earliest days, becoming ward sister in 2001.
"We all work together here as a great big team. This has taken me aback but it's a lovely surprise," said Mrs Brown.
Other NHS staff in Gwent to be honoured are: Marilyn Williams, retired former radiology directorate manager and assistant director of therapies and health science with Aneurin Bevan Health Board, who receives an MBE for services to radiology and healthcare; Susan Hoffman, receptionist at Nevill Hall Hospital, who receives a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the NHS in Monmouthshire; and Tracey Uzor (BEM), immunisation co-ordinator with the health board, for services to the NHS in Newport.
Chepstow potter and town councillor Ned Heywood, 66, has been awarded an MBE for his services to the community in the town and the wider Wye Valley.
Among his contributions over more than 30 years are co-founding the Chepstow Festival in 1988, organising live music on Sunday afternoons during the summer over the past 10 years, helping raise £200,000 for community projects, and helping create the Chepstow Heritage Trail.
Mayor of Chepstow in 2006, and currently deputy mayor, he called the honour a "great surprise."
“I am delighted and share it with the hundreds of volunteers I have worked with over the years who helped to make the projects and events possible," he said.
Also honoured are director of Forest Enterprise England, Brian Mahony (MBE), of Monmouth, for services to forestry, environment and recreation, and Keith Wright (BEM), of Swansea, who has worked as a street scene operative in Pontypool town centre for 30 years.
Honours across Wales and the UK
SINGER Katherine Jenkins (OBE) and Gavin and Stacey star and series co-creator Ruth Jones (MBE) are Welsh recipients among the celebrities and notables on the Honours List, which is the first to contain more women than men.
Fifty-one per cent of the almost 1,200 recipients this time around are women.
The doctor who oversaw the safe delivery of Prince George is recognised by the Queen in the New Year Honours List. Marcus Setchell, who was the Queen's gynaecologist for two decades, receives a knighthood.
Penelope Keith, a star of 1970s sitcom The Good Life and many other television and stage productions, becomes a Dame, as does Murder, She Wrote actress Angela Lansbury.
Knighthood recipients include film and theatre producer Michael Codron, sculptor Antony Gormley, and former director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC.
The Order of Merit (OM), awarded to individuals of great achievement in the fields of the arts, learning, literature and science, goes to orchestra conductor Sir Simon Rattle and renowned heart surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub.
CBEs are awarded to ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, former FA chairman David Bernstein, Apprentice star and vice-chairman of West Ham United football club Karren Brady, actor Michael Crawford, TV presenter Nicholas Parsons, and former tennis player Ann Jones, for her services to the sport since winning Wimbledon in 1969.
Actress Lynda Bellingham, writer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, and Netmums.com parenting website founders Siobhan Freegard, Cathy Court and Sarah Russell receive OBEs, while Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud and DJ Pete Tong receive MBEs.
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