Honours for the North East's unsung heroes

THE North East’s finest community champions – and one of its highest-profile music stars – have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Irene Smith, service director at Washington Citizens' Advice Bureau, receives
Irene Smith, service director at Washington Citizens' Advice Bureau, receives

THE North East’s finest community champions – and one of its highest-profile music stars – have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The long list of unsung heroes, including care workers and volunteers, have been recognised for their dedicated service to their communities.

While much of their hard work has gone on behind the scenes, one man who has been very much front of stage is Durham-born chart veteran Bryan Ferry, of Roxy Music, who landed a CBE.

The people behind community projects, support groups, and education services have received the recognition they deserve after years of dedication.

Service director at Washington Citizens’ Advice Bureau Irene Smith will be one of those making the journey to visit the Queen to pick up her MBE.

The 63-year-old mother-of-three started working for the bureau 22 years ago and has worked her way up from case worker to service director.

In 2000 she formed successful partnerships with Washington Asylum Seekers and was joint partner in producing an effective immigration service.

She also formed a partnership with Remploy and was able to support their workers with a dedicated one-to-one service. Through her leadership, hard work and determination she has built up the largest independent advice centre in Sunderland.

Mrs Smith, who lives in Washington, said: “I was surprised to find out I’d been put forward for an MBE. I was very pleased when I found out I was to receive one. It’s just nice to be appreciated.

“I do find my job very rewarding. It’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing for the last 22 years. ”

Meanwhile garden liaison director at Northumberland’s Alnwick Garden Ian August has also received an MBE for his services to the garden.

The 70-year-old, who has worked on the garden since it was created 15 years ago, said he felt “honoured” to be awarded an MBE. Mr August, who lives in Alnwick, said: “It is with much personal satisfaction that I have been able to promote Alnwick through my involvement with The Alnwick Garden over the past 15 years, and in my role as a trustee of the Alnwick Community Development Trust, and subsequently to be recognised with an MBE is an honour.

“It came as a complete surprise. My involvement with the garden as been so special and I feel privileged to have played a role in its development.”

A Northumberland University research associate is being honoured for her professional and personal commitment to a scientific study of wild Soay sheep on the island of St Kilda, in the Outer Hebrides.

Over the last 20 years Jill Glegge Pilkington has undertaken trips to St Kilda to carry out her role in the programme. Her contribution, which has taught hundreds of scientists how to handle and work with the wild animals, has helped to shape the pioneering study.

Mrs Pilkington, 49, said: “This is a tremendous honour and a wonderful acknowledgement for the St Kilda study. I’m very proud to be involved in what has become one of the most significant scientific studies of its type.”

Professor Rosemary Cramp, a research professor of archaeology at Durham University, has been made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for her services to scholarship.

Alan Clarke, head of development agency One North East, has been honoured with a CBE. He said: “It has also been a genuine pleasure and a privilege to have worked alongside such dedicated and talented individuals at One North East for the past eight years.”

Mary Coyle, chair of North Tyneside Primary Care Trust, is recognised with a CBE for her contribution to leadership in the North East. She is a familiar face to many in the region and led the popular Common Purpose development programme for 11 years.

The local list in full



Michael Kenneth Lees. Formerly Governor, HM Prison Acklington, Ministry of Justice. (Morpeth)

Professor Peter Gregory Stone. Professor of Heritage Studies, International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University. For services to heritage education. (Haydon Bridge)


Professor Stephanie Atkinson. Professor of Design and Technology Education, University of Sunderland. For services to higher education. (Allendale)

Ian August. For voluntary service to Alnwick Gardens. (Northumberland)

Stanley Cooke. For voluntary service to carers and to people with special needs. (Ponteland)

John William Deeble. For services to the community in Alnwick, Northumberland. (Alnwick)

Robert Hugh David Dixon. For services to Heritage in the North East. (Hexham)

Robert Hall. For services to Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project. (Cramlington)

Elliott Hill. For services to Young People in Berwick.

Charles Brian Patterson. For voluntary service to HM Coastguard, Holy Island. (Berwick)

Jill Glegge Pilkington. Field assistant, Soay Sheep Project, St Kilda. For services to science. (Haydon Bridge)

Robert Guy Ramsay. For services to the community in Ponteland, Northumberland. (Ponteland)

David Gwyn Thomas. Grade D, Ministry of Defence. (Northumberland)



Alan Clarke. chief executive, One North East. For services to regeneration. (Tyne and Wear)


Beverley Coombs. Manager, Sure Start Children’s Centre, Gateshead. For services to families. (Sunderland)

Mary Coyle, DL. For services to leadership in the community in the North East. (North Shields)

Elsie Dixon. For services to the community in Benwell, Newcastle. (Newcastle)

Geoffrey Dodds. For services to the community in Sunderland. (Sunderland)

John Glendinning. Higher Officer, Capital Gains Tax Team, Local Compliance, Washington, HM Revenue and Customs. (Newcastle)

Roger Olley. Project manager, Fathers Plus. For services to Families. (Whitley Bay)

Linda Selby. Co-Founder, work experience programme for teenagers with learning disabilities. For services to special educational needs. (South Shields)

Irene Smith. For services to Washington Citizens’ Advice Bureau. (Washington)

Lily Taylor. For services to the community in Sunderland. (Sunderland)



Professor Rosemary Jean Cramp. Emeritus Research Professor of Archaeology, Durham University. For services to scholarship. (Durham)


Bryan Ferry. Singer and Songwriter. For services to Music. (London, born Durham)


Councillor William Gene Dixon. For services to Local Government in Darlington, County Durham. (Darlington, Durham)

Ian Forbes. For services to heritage in the North Pennines. (Bishop Auckland, Durham)

Mary Ruth Hawgood. For services to the community in Durham. (Durham)

Dr Susan Mary Waterworth. forensic medical examiner, Durham Constabulary. For services to the police. (Newton Aycliffe, Durham)

Alan Watson, BEM. For services to Young People in Durham. (Durham)


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