Hometown heroes share the glory

Hometown heroes have joined some of the region's best known public figures in the New Year's Honours List.

Hometown heroes have joined some of the region's best known public figures in the New Year's Honours List.

People from the worlds of sport, charity and academia have joined councillors and civil servants in being honoured for years of public service to the region.

Among the best known North-East personalities in the list are Jim Alder, the 1966 Commonwealth marathon champion who went on to become a prominent figure in local athletics, and Gateshead councillor leader Mick Henry.

Coun Henry, who was awarded a CBE, said: "This is a tribute to the great things we have achieved in Gateshead while I have had the good fortune to be the council's leader.

"The honour is shared by my colleagues in the Labour group on the council - because without their support we would not have been able to achieve so much."

Other councillors to be rewarded include Derwentside council leader Alex Watson, veteran Ponteland representative Frank Harrington and Blyth councillor Kathleen Nisbet.

Durham University picked up two gongs, with Prof William Feast getting a CBE for services to polymer chemistry and Dr Euan Ross being awarded an MBE for services to higher education.

Retired Newcastle University professor Richard Bailey is made an OBE for his work as chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund's Committee for the North-East.

And Mary Briggs, one of the two women who helped found and open Seven Stories, Newcastle's Centre for Children's Books, is also awarded an OBE for services to literature.

But today's list of honours also features a number of previously unsung heroes.

Dr Alan Lillington, who competed in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki and started the Sunderland Sport Fund 10 years ago, is awarded an MBE for services to the community.

He said: "I'm deeply honoured. I know how deserving many people who receive these awards are, so I'm just thrilled."

Ivor Gray - a football coach who has trained generations of young players in Stocksfield, Northumberland - is also made an MBE.

William Elliott, a farmer who has been a member of Mitford Parish Council in Northumberland for more than half a century, gets the same honour.

The 80-year-old of Dene House Farm at Mitford, has spent 24 years as parish council chairman, as well as being a church warden and setting up the annual village flower show.

He said: "It's all rather surprising really. I'm just doing my bit for Mitford, which has a wonderful heritage that we must maintain."

MBEs went to County Durham farmer David Maughan, retired Newcastle sea cadet leader Lieut Cdr Victor Spong and Gladys Chilton, a community worker from Sunderland.

And there was an OBE for architect Alan Smith, founder and managing partner Red Box Design Group, in Newcastle.

Fundraiser set to meet the Queen

Tireless fundraiser Reta Tweddle is being rewarded for more than 40 years of community work with an MBE.

The 72-year-old from of Rowlands Gill, in Gateshead, was nominated by fellow volunteers for her work on four different scheme spanning more than four decades.

The kind-hearted pensioner got involved in volunteer work after moving to Rowlands Gill about 45 years ago from Stanley, County Durham, and started to raise funds for children's charity NSPCC.

The mother-of-two and grandmother-of-four, has organised an array of charity events which raised more than £3,000.

At the same time as raising her family and regular charity work, Mrs Tweddle also took a job as a warden for sheltered accommodation for the elderly on Southwood Crescent.

Although she retired about 15 years ago, her charity work has not ceased and she now cooks weekly meals for the elderly and disabled at Rowlands Gill Community Centre.

She has also been an active fundraiser for the centre on Strathmore Road, and just weeks ago was instrumental in organising a medieval banquet to raise money for the centre.

Mrs Tweddle says the honour came as a shock. She said: "It will be my first time meeting the Queen and I'm a little bit worried - I will be very nervous, but it will be a very great honour."

Honours List



Coun Michael Francis Henry. Leader, Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council. For services to local government (Gateshead, Tyne and Wear).


Mrs Ann Edith Darling, JP, DL. For services to the administration of justice and to the community in Tyneside (Sunderland).

Donald Malcolm Dempsey. Director of European Structural Funds Voluntary Organisations Northern (ESFVON). For services to voluntary and community organisations in the North-East (Newcastle).

Ms Carol Wolstenholme. Formerly leadership development manager at The Pension Service, Department for Work and Pensions (Newcastle).


Mrs Gladys Chilton. For services to the community in Sunderland (Sunderland).

Carl Robert Eddy. Administrative assistant, HM Revenue and Customs. (Crawcrook).

Dr Alan William Lillington, DL. For services to the community in Sunderland (Whitburn).

Mrs Mary Potts. For services to the community in Sunderland (Sunderland).

Philip William Russell. Management board member of the Workers' Safety Adviser Challenge Fund. For services to health and safety in the construction industry (North Shields, Tyne and Wear).

Lieut Cdr Victor William Spong. Royal Naval Reserve (retired). For services to the Sea Cadet Corps in Newcastle (Newcastle).

Mrs Reta Hodge Tweddle. For services to the community in Rowlands Gill (Rowlands Gill).



Prof Richard Nigel Bailey. Formerly chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund's Committee for the North-East. For services to heritage (Ponteland).


James Noel Carrol Alder. Member of Morpeth Harriers Athletics Club. For services to sport in the North-East (Ellington).

William Elliott. Chair of Mitford Parish Council. For services to the community in Northumberland (Mitford).

Ivor John Frederick Gray. Youth football coach. For services to sport in Northumberland (Stocksfield).

Francis Andrew Harrington. Member of Castle Morpeth Borough Council. For services to local government (Ponteland).

Mrs Kathleen Nisbet. Councillor on Blyth Valley District Council. For services to local government in Blyth (Blyth).

Derek George Sharman. For services to heritage in Berwick-upon-Tweed (Berwick-upon-Tweed).

John Simpson. Works operational manager for Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust. For services to the NHS. (Morpeth).



Prof William James Feast. Emeritus Professor at Durham University. For services to polymer chemistry (High Shincliffe).


Mrs Mary Rosamund Briggs. Former chief executive of Seven Stories, The Centre for Children's Books. For services to literature (Durham).

David John Heaton. Principal of Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington. For services to further education (Darlington).

Alan John Smith. Founder and managing partner of the Red Box Design Group. For services to architecture in the North-East (Durham).


Mrs Linda Ayre. Registered manager of Tow Law Childrens' Home. For services to children (Crook).

Michael Gerrard Martin Brennan. Head of learning development at Queen Mary University of London. For services to higher education (Barnard Castle).

John Clifford Culine. For services to the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain and to the community in Spennymoor (Spennymoor).

Mrs Jean Smith Dixon. For services to disabled people in Easington (Hanwell).

Mrs Patricia Gordon. Officer, National Insurance Contributions Office, HM Revenue and Customs (Chester-le-Street).

Ronald Lamb. For services to the community in Durham (Peterlee).

David Maughan. For services to farming in County Durham (Darlington).

Dr Euan James Ferguson Ross. Formerly administrator of the chemistry department at Durham University. For services to higher education (Durham).

Mrs Josephine Vary. Senior youth and community learning worker at the Young Women's Outreach Project in Gateshead. For services to young people (Stanley).

Mrs Ann Denise White. Communications higher executive officer and chair of the Charities Committee at the Home Office (Durham).

Mrs Janice Margaret Worters. Chief officer of the Voluntary Organisations Development Agency and chair of the North Tyneside Strategic Partnership. For services to the community in the North-East (Shotley Bridge).


Thomas Jonathan Stoddart. Acting chief constable of Durham Constabulary.



Roger Ralph Chapman. Vice-Chair of James Fisher Defence. For services to the shipping industry (Broughton-in-Furness).


Coun Ronald Munby. For services to the community in Keswick (Cockermouth).

Brian Needham. For services to the Duke of Edinburgh Award and to young people (Alston).

Daniel Terrence O'Connell. For services to youth justice and to the community in Cumbria (Whitehaven).

Michael Walker. General engineering manager at SERCO Defence and Aerospace. For services to the defence industry (Brampton).



Mrs June Goodchild. For services to the community in Easterside, Middlesbrough (Middlesbrough).

Mrs Patricia Jean Hutchison. Senior Officer, Child Trust Fund Office, HM Revenue and Customs (Hartlepool).

Dr Iftikhar Ahmed Lone, JP. General medical practitioner in Middlesbrough. For services to healthcare. (Middlesbrough).

Mrs Jean Oliver. Vice-Chair of Parkfield and Mill Lane Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder Board. For services to the community in Stockton-on-Tees (Stockton-on-Tees).

Barry Vernon. Senior physical education officer at HM Prison Kirklevington Grange in Yarm, Cleveland. (Stockton).



n Harry Thomas Stratford. Chair of ProStrakan. For services to life sciences in Scotland (Galashiels, Roxburgh).


Archie Macdonald Fisher. Singer and songwriter. For services to traditional Scottish music (Galashiels, Roxburgh).

John Duncan Johnston. Formerly harbour master at Eyemouth. For services to the community in Berwickshire (Eyemouth, Berwickshire).

Mrs Christina Waters Clapperton Robertson. Formerly head of department of business, management and computing at the Dumfries and Galloway College. For services to lifelong learning (Heathhall, Dumfries).


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer