A trio with more than 160 years’ charity work between them, a primary school headteacher and a medical consultant have all been honoured by the Queen.
Cherry Edwards, headteacher of Bourne Abbey Primary Academy, Petronella Keeling of Action Medical Research’s Spalding committee and Pinchbeck parish councillor Maurice Chappell were all named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List on Friday.
There were also honours for Anjan Kumar Banerjee of Market Deeping, deputy managing director of a medical consultancy, and Betty Matthews, an Oxfam volunteer for more than 50 years.
Mrs Edwards was given an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for services to education after a 32-year career at schools in Yorkshire, London and, for the last ten years, at Bourne Abbey.
“I am absoultely thrilled, delighted and surprised, but more than anything I am immensely proud to have news that I am to receive an honour from the Queen,” said Mrs Edwards.
“However, looking back on my career it is clear that this is not about me alone but this honour is also shared with the colleagues, governors, parents and local authority officers that I have had the privilege to work with over the past 32 years of headship.
“It is a reflection of the outstanding skills and commitment of my former colleagues in North Yorkshire, Lambeth (south London), and for the last ten years at our wonderful Bourne Abbey Church of England Primary Academy here in Lincolnshire.”
John Kirkman, chairman of governors at Bourne Abbey, said: “On behalf of governors and staff, I would like to offer our heartfelt congratulations on this wonderful achievement, acknowledging the outstanding contribution Cherry has made.”
Anjan Kumar Bannerjee, who lives in Market Deeping with wife Alison and their three children, was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire for his work as deputy managing director for Pope Woodhead & Associaties, an agency committed to improving safety for patients in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.
Their work includes testing new medicines, reviewing the safety of existing treatments and developing guidelines for looking after patients in hospitals.
Mr Banerjee said: “It was a great surprise to get the MBE and I needed a little bit of convincing that it was genuine because there are so many distinguished people who have never received honours.
“It’s a great endorsement of what I and my colleagues at Pope Woodhead have been doing and it gives me great energy to carry on doing more to serve the community of Lincolnshire.
“I think of myself as a Lincolnshire person and I’m proud to be someone who lives in Lincolnshire with my wife and children.”
Meanwhile, people with severe learning disabilities have a brighter outlook on life thanks to the work of Coun Maurice Chappell.
The coordinator of Spalding Gateway Club, based at the town’s Broad Street Methodist Church, is now an MBE for his ongoing work with the charity Mencap.
Coun Chappell of West Pinchbeck, a parish councillor for more than 30 years, said: “When I read the letter to say I was being considered for an MBE, I was quite speechless.
“I’m surprised but pleased to be recognised for working with people who have learning disabilities because both myself and my wife Vera get a lot of pleasure in doing it.”
Coun Chappell, who daughter Claire has Down’s Syndrome, is also a governor with the Spalding Special Schools Federation made up of the town’s Garth and Priory Schools.
“When our daughter was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome in 1965, my wife and I made our minds up that we would try and help people in the same situation as us,” said Coun Chappell.
Petronella Keeling first discovered the work of children’s charity Action Medical Research in 1967 while she was running a fashion boutique in Spalding.
Nearly 50 years later, Mrs Keeling, of Spalding, is still as committed to raising money for new treatments to help those babies and children with rare and life-threatening diseases.
This commitment has been recognised with an MBE for Mrs Keeling who is married with three children and two grandchildren.
“When I opened the letter which I said I was being considered for an MBE, it was pretty overwhelming and a huge surprise,” Mrs Keeling said.
“It’s fantastic for everyone on Action Medical Research’s committee in Spalding as they have deserved the award as much as me.
“In the 1960s, I had a boutique in Spalding and a lady walked in who persuaded me to run a fashion show for the charity.
“At the moment, we raise about £20,000 to £25,000 a year for research work into diseases and problems for babies during pregnancy and children, including quite a lot of work on meningitis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, epilepsy and brain tumours.”
Finally, how different things would be for Betty Matthews of West Pinchbeck if her heart wasn’t touched by a photograph of a hungry child in a newspaper.
More than half a century later, Mrs Matthews’ work in raising money and awareness for Oxfam has resulted in a British Empire Medal (BEM) for charitable services in the community.
Mrs Matthew said: “I was staggered and felt very emotional when I found out I was being considered for a BEM.
“I tried to ring my family to tell them the news but then realised I shouldn’t do that.
“They think it’s about time but I still feel shocked when I think how people told me that Oxfam in Spalding would phase out after a few months when it was first set up in 1962.
“But I ignored that advice and so many people have said to me over the years ‘Are you still working for Oxfam?’”
Mrs Matthews, who has three sons, ten grandchildren and a great-grandson, was recognised by Oxfam last August for 50 years’ service and she still helps out at the charity’s shop in Station Street, Spalding.
Gary Peatling, shop manager, said: “We’re delighted that Betty’s long years of service for Oxfam has been recognised in this way.
“By extension, it’s recognition for Oxfam, its volunteers and Spalding as well.”