North East heroes named in New Year Honours list

Leading figures of the arts, education and business worlds in the North East have had decades of public service recognised in the New Year's Honours list

Elaine White
Elaine White

Leading figures of the arts, education and business worlds in the North East have had decades of public service recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

Taking their place alongside celebrities and sporting heroes are headteachers, charity volunteers and public servants who have made life better for their local communities.

Among those honoured was Angel of the North sculptor Anthony Gormley, who gets a knighthood, and Jayne Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money, which has its main base in Newcastle, and who becomes a Dame.

In the world of education, there was an OBE for Judy Donnelly, head of the Pennywell Early Years Centre in Sunderland, and a CBE for Elaine White, head at St Mary and St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary School in Gateshead for the last 17 years.

Miss White, who is also being recognised for 38 years of voluntary work with the Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Pilgrimage group, which organises an annual pilgrimage to Lourdes for disabled people, said: “I’m thrilled and delighted. It’s a great honour to receive something like this.

“I’m passionate about teaching and it’s quite a privilege to be the head of St Mary and St Thomas Aquinas. In our last inspection, the school was rated as outstanding and my aim is to make sure we maintain that.

“I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference and transform the lives of children. I wanted to make sure they get the best of opportunities.

“It’s a very fulfilling job. It has been challenging, exciting and very rewarding. The last thing I thought about was being in the New Year’s Honours List.”

Also honoured were Margaret Nicholson, former headteacher of St Anthony’s C of E School in Newcastle and later director of education for the Diocese of Newcastle, Dr Bill Dennison, chairman of governors at Park View School, in Chester-le-Street, Lindsey Whiterod, principal of South Tyneside College, and Eliott Ward, chair of governors at Dame Allan’s Schools in Newcastle.

Mr Ward, who lives in Corbridge, Northumberland, said: “I’m deeply honoured and so very humbled to receive this award. I’m fiercely proud to be chairman of governors at Dame Allan’s Schools which has played such a significant part in the life of Newcastle.

“I thought it was a hoax, I just couldn’t believe it. I discussed it with my wife and she rang up the Cabinet Office and they said it wasn’t a joke.”

Liv Lorent
Liv Lorent

Internationally-renowned choreographer Liv Lorent has been recognised for her services to dance and will be awarded an MBE.

The 41-year-old founded dance company balletLORENT in 1993 and represented the UK in the Deuxiéme Rencontres Choréographiques Internationale. She became an associate artist at the Place Theatre in London, before relocating to Newcastle in 1996, becoming resident choreographer at Dance City.

As artistic director of balletLORENT, Liv has been touring works both nationally and internationally to much acclaim. She said: “I was completely shocked and surprised when I found out. It’s not really part of a world I know about but I’m very touched by it. The best thing about it is that it’s recognition for the company. It feels like it’s for everyone who has made balletLORENT what it is and what we have achieved over the last 20 years.”

Mike Parker, former director of Metro operators Nexus - and a one-time Journal columnist - gets an OBE.

He said: “I’m very, very pleased and I feel very honoured. I look forward to going down to the palace and receiving the medal.”

In the business community, Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of the Sedgefield-based science firm Kromek and a board member of the North East local enterprise partnership, becomes an MBE, while an OBE goes to Lorna Moran, founder of the recruitment firm NRG.

Archaeologist Lindsay Allason-Jones is to receive an OBE for a lifetime of work in the field.

The 61-year-old, of Lemington, Newcastle, was a director of archaeological museums at Newcastle University and also worked at the Great North Museum. She is now the president of The Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

She said: “My interest in archaeology started when I was about five-years-old. My mother took me and my sister to the Housesteads Roman Fort and I was fascinated. My interest grew from there.

“I first started excavating when I was 15 and my main interest has always been the Romans. The North East is one of the best places for Roman heritage and I have worked in Newcastle for more than 30 years. There is no need for me to go anywhere else.

“I’m thrilled to bits to be getting an OBE. I had to read the letter informing me about it several times before it sank in.”

Mike Parker
Mike Parker

Captain of England women’s rugby team, Katy McLean, is due to be awarded an MBE for her services to the game.

The 28-year-old, from South Shields, has been playing rugby since she was around six after being inspired by her father, who played for a local team.

She said: “Something like this isn’t just about me, it’s my support network and the greater game. It’s massive recognition for those who work so hard for women’s rugby so this award is for them as well.”

Also honoured were charity stalwarts Kathleen Farnell, Patrick Jackson, Elizabeth Screen, Jacqui Axelby and Patrick Jackson.

Retired deputy chief fire officer John Hindmarch is awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal.

North East Honours


Miss Elaine White. Headteacher, St. Mary and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary School, Gateshead. For services to Education and voluntary service to People with Disabilities. (Gateshead)


Miss Lindsay Allason-Jones. Archaeologist. For services to Archaeology. (Newcastle)

Mrs Judith Holder Donnelly. Headteacher, Pennywell Early Years Centre, Sunderland. For services to Children. (North Shields)

Mrs Catherine Lorna Moran, MBE. Chief executive, Northern Recruitment Group. For services to Enterprise Promotion. (Newcastle)

Michael John Parker. For services to Public Transport and voluntary services in the North East of England. (Hexham)

Mrs Pamela Mary Waldron. Formerly head of Operations, Health and Safety Executive Field Operations, Yorkshire and North East. For services to Health and Safety in the Workplace. (Northumberland)

Miss Lindsey Janet Whiterod. Principal and chief executive, South Tyneside College. For services to Further Education. (Newcastle)


Mrs Jacqueline Lorraine Mary Axelby. Trustee and Non-Executive director, Azure Charitable Enterprises. For services to Young People with Special Educational Needs. (Ponteland)

Dr Arnab Basu. Chief executive Officer, Kromek Limited. For services to Regional Development and International Trade. (Belmont, Durham)

Mrs Ranjana Bell. Chair, Strategic Independent Advisory Group, Northumbria Police. For services to Minority Ethnic Groups in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. (Newcastle)

Mrs Kathleen Buckley. Foster Carer, County Durham. For services to Children and Families. (Consett)

Dr William Forster Dennison. Chair of Governors, Park View Academy, Chester-le-Street, Co Durham. For services to Education. (Chester le Street)

Mrs Glenda Dolphin. Lean Change Agent, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, North East Region. For services to the Administration of Justice. (Newcastle)

Mrs Kathleen Anne Farnell. Founder, Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust. For services to Thyroid Cancer Research and Thyroid Cancer Sufferers. (Newcastle)

The Reverend Canon Alan Hughes, TD. For services to the community in Berwick upon Tweed, Northumberland. (Cornhill on Tweed, Northumberland)

Ms Olivia Francoise Danielle (Liv) Lorent. Founder and Artistic director, balletLorent. For services to Dance. (Newcastle)

Miss Katy McLean. For services to Women’s Rugby. (South Shields)

Mrs Susan Jessica McVeigh. Senior Officer, Operational Delivery Profession, Development and Capability manager, HM Revenue and Customs. For services to Customer Service Delivery. (Newcastle)

Mrs Margaret Nicholson. For services to Education in the North East of England. (Newcastle)

Miss Jacqueline Holly Stacey. Director, Governance and Party Services, Labour Party. For political service. (Whitley Bay)

Mrs Barbara Ann Spooner. Team Leader, Intelligence Collection, Serious Organised Crime Agency. For services to Law Enforcement. (Chester le Street)

Elliott Ward. Chair of Governors, Dame Allan Schools, Newcastle upon Tyne. For services to Education and to the community in Newcastle. (Corbridge, Northumberland)



Walter Murray Brydon. Deputy chairman and Trustee, Newcastle Police Aid to Romanian Children. For services to community, voluntary and local services, particularly in Romania.

James Cleghorn. For services to the community in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. (Sunderland)

Mrs Jacqueline Delaney. For voluntary services to the community in the North East. (Newcastle)

Miss Claire Emmerson. Manager, Case Management, Legal Aid Agency, South Tyneside. For voluntary and charitable services. (Cullercoats)

Patrick Edward Jackson. For voluntary services to People with Disabilities through St. Augustine’s Church, Gateshead. (Gateshead)

The Reverend Anne Elizabeth Marr. For services to the community and to Inter-Faith Relations in Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear. (Newcastle)

Frederick William Peacock. For services to Church Music in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne. (Newcastle)

Councillor Clive Robson. Councillor. Durham County Council. For services to the community. (Durham)

Mrs Elizabeth Screen. For services to Martha and Mary’s Community Cafe and to the community in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne. (Newcastle)



John Hindmarch. Former Chief Fire Officer, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.


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