North East torch bearers rewarded with honours

Dedicated people who work to make communities better in the North East have been recognised in a range of fields spanning from education to sport

Dedicated people who work to make communities better in the North East have been recognised in a range of fields spanning from education to sport.

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List was last night unveiled, with a long list of deserving North Easterners included in the line-up.

Hexham-based businessman Alex Waters is being made an MBE for his services to sport in Northumberland, having tirelessly invested time, money and effort in local organisations over the years.

The 69-year-old, who was nominated in secret by his wife, has supported worthy endeavours across the Tynedale district, with projects costing more than £2m.

He has been heavily involved with Prudhoe Town Football Club, which was in danger of folding when he stepped in to help in 1994, and he also sponsors Hexham Greens FC.

Wife Eilish, 47, said: “He is a self-made man – nobody ever gave him anything. It’s not like he is incredibly wealthy but he gives money away and tried to help people when he thinks they need it.

“I hadn’t told him anything at all about me nominating him and I did it over a year ago. He was so, so surprised when he opened the letter from the Cabinet Office.”

A fellow sports enthusiast who has also been made an MBE is William Ogilvie from Choppington, Northumberland. The 84-year-old has spent much of the last 50 years working with young people throughout south-east Northumberland, inspiring them to engage with sport and education.

The impact of his work has been particularly strong at Newbiggin Golf Club, where he was made club president in 2011. He set up the club’s junior section and began organising junior competitions so that youngsters could get involved in the sport.

He is also involved in Stakeford and Bomarsund Sport and Welfare Centre and Bomarsund Welfare Cricket Club.

The 84-year-old, who was an Olympic Torch bearer during last year’s London Games, said: “I must say, every part of my life I have been privileged to have good people and reliable people by my side and over half a century of marriage to my late wife, Connie.

“She was a wonderful sounding board for me. I’ve also had good colleagues in various stages of my life.”

Frank Major, who is chairman of the Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, has been made an MBE for his pivotal role in ensuring local communities across the length and breadth of the region are protected against flooding.

He is also a magistrate, chairman of the Sunderland RNLI Station Management Group and a non-executive board member of the Marine Activities Centre in Sunderland.

Mr Major, 68, said: “It’s a marvellous feeling but if there is any recognition, it’s not for me, it’s for the work of the committee which I have had the privilege and honour of chairing.”

Eileen Rogerson, the postmistress of Kirwhelpington in Northumberland, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her tireless work in the rural committee, which includes being caretaker of the village hall, organising deliveries for elderly people and collecting medicines from the nearest GP surgery five miles away.

A long-serving teacher from South Tyneside will be knighted. Ken Gibson, executive headteacher at Harton Technology College in South Shields and Sunderland’s Academy 360, was awarded the rank of Knight Bachelor for services to education.

Joining these unsung local heroes is the more well-known face of Rowan Atkinson. The North East-born comic, famed for his role as the scheming Blackadder, said he was surprised when he discovered he was being made a CBE.

The 58-year-old, who first found fame as part of the team behind Not The Nine O’Clock News, said: “It came as a genuine surprise and is a great honour.”

The actor, who is married with two children, is originally from Corbridge in Northumberland, and went to Newcastle University before going on to Oxford.

He (Alex Waters) is a self-made man – nobody ever gave him anything


Kenneth Archibald Gibson. Executive head teacher, Harton Technology College, Jarrow School, South Tyneside and Academy 360, Sunderland. For services to education. (Cleadon)


Donald Anthony Sargent. General director, Sage Gateshead. For services to the Arts in North East England. (Newcastle)


Professor Selwyn Michael Griffin. Consultant Surgeon and Professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery, The Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne. For services to Health. (Gateshead)

Barbara Payne. Senior Education Adviser, Department for International Development. For services to Education in Developing Countries. (Newcastle)


Krishan Kant Attri. Volunteer Leader, Newcastle Hindu Temple. For services to Inter-Faith Relations in the North East of England. (Newcastle)

Robert Dale. Administrative Officer, HM Revenue and Customs. For services to Taxpayers. (Gateshead)

Peter Huggins. Associate director, Dance City. For services to British Dance. (Newcastle)

Eric Lamb. For charitable community services in Newcastle upon Tyne. (Newcastle)

Francis George Major, JP, DL. Chairman, Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. For services to Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management. (Washington)

William Ogilvie. For services to the community, especially Sport, in South East Northumberland. (Choppington)

Josephine Anna Skipp. Operational Delivery Team Leader, Agents Learning and Support Team, HM Revenue and Customs. For services to Taxpayers and to Bereavement Counselling. (Lanehead in Weardale, Durham)

Barbara Marshall Slider. Head of School and Deputy Headteacher, Shiremoor Primary School, Newcastle upon Tyne. For services to Education. (Whitley Bay)

Derek Talbot. For services to Badminton. (Whitley Bay)

Alexander Waters. For services to Sport in Northumberland. (Hexham)


Paul Henry Brett. Senior Officer, HM Prison Northumberland. For services to HM Prison Service. (Morpeth)

Patricia Bulmer. Founder and Leader, Elim Toddler Group, Sunderland. For services to Education. (Seaham)

Sylvia Cape. Volunteer, North East Prisons After Care Service, HM Prison Northumberland. For services to Prisoners and their Families. (Morpeth, Northumberland)

Thomas Daniel Hodgson. For services to Rugby. (Alnwick)

Eric Lamb. For charitable community services in Newcastle upon Tyne. (Newcastle)

Eileen Mary Rogerson. For services to the community in Kirkwhelpington, Northumberland. (Kirkwhelpington)

David Robin Scott. For services to Music in Newcastle Upon Tyne. (Newcastle)

Robert Taylor. For services to the community in Wingate, County Durham. (Wingate, Durham)

Frederick Arthur Wharton. For services to Amateur Drama in the North East. (Durham)


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