It was our honour to help, Carol

Civil servant Carol Wolstenholme couldn't wait to find out if she had received a New Year's Honour - so she rang The Journal in the middle of the night to find out.

Civil servant Carol Wolstenholme couldn't wait to find out if she had received a New Year's Honour - so she rang The Journal in the middle of the night to find out.

Miss Wolstenholme, from Denton Burn in Newcastle, will celebrate her 64th birthday today with an OBE awarded for her work as a leadership development manager for the Pensions Service.

Miss Wolstenholme, who is also an active volunteer for the Church of England diocese in Newcastle, was told in November she had been nominated but didn't know for definite if the award had been confirmed.

Unable to sleep as the big day approached, she rang The Journal just after midnight on Friday night to find out where and when she could buy an early edition of the paper.

But reporter Neil McKay was able to check the list of local people getting an honour and give Miss Wolstenholme the good news.

She said: "I found out in November that I'd been nominated but it was in strict confidence and I didn't know that it would happen for definite.

"The letter from Downing Street is worded so you're not entirely sure. It says that the Prime Minister is minded to put your name forward but leaves it at that.

"Then I started to worry if I had ticked the right box to say I would accept an honour, or whether my letter had ever got there. I literally couldn't sleep so I rang up The Journal to see when the first newspapers came out and if I could get one in the early hours.

"When the reporter told me I had got an OBE, it was wonderful. It was like floating in a champagne bubble - and I haven't come down yet."

Miss Wolstenholme recently retired after being a civil servant for more than 45 years.

She is also a committed Christian, worshipping at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Denton, sitting on the council of St Nicholas' Cathedral and chairing the diocese pastoral committee.

After hearing the good news of her award, she celebrated on Saturday with close family members.

A top lawyer born on Tyneside has been awarded a knighthood for services to human rights.

Geoffrey Bindman, who was born in Gateshead and still has family in the region, has represented a number of prominent New Labour figures in recent years, but remains critical of the Government on some issues.

The lawyer acted for Amnesty International and other human rights groups in their attempt to get Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, extradited and tried on human rights charges.

Journalists

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