Residents from around Cheshire have been recognised in the King’s first Birthday Honours, including a husband-and-wife postmaster team, a charity founder and the owners of local theatre company.
Also receiving honours are academics, a police officer, volunteers and medical staff who have gone the extra mile in their roles.
They join hundreds of people from around the country whose tireless work has been recognised in the first birthday honours list since the coronation of King Charles III earlier this year.
Kuldeep Dhillon and Balbir Kaur
Postmasters Kuldeep Dhillon and his wife Balbir Kaur have been awarded BEMs for their services to the community in Birchwood.
During the Covid pandemic the couple were part of a team of eight people from their Sikh temple fundraising to buy ingredients to make nutritious meals that they served to frontline NHS staff. This team effort helped provide 35,000 meals for those at Warrington and Halton Hospitals in the first year of the crisis.
In their Locking Stumps Nisa shop they operate a customer loyalty scheme, the proceeds of which go to funding the local football team and youth clubs. They regularly top up supplies at the local foodbank from their own retail stock and raised more than £4,000 for the foodbank through the sale of homemade curries.
Kuldeep, who trained as a microbiologist, said: “I really love being a postmaster and running my shop because of the interaction with people. I have earned my living from this community for the past 40 years, so I like to give something back to my community to thank them.
“People ask me when I’m going to retire, but I have no plans to retire. I love my work serving people and having a chat and a laugh with customers. I joke with customers saying what would I do if I retired. I would be bored at home. I would have to go to the pub to chat to strangers for someone to talk to.
“Why do that, when I can carry on working here, where I can chat to so many people I know. I have known three generations of the same family and people know my name, even young children come in and say ‘Good morning Mr Dhillon.”
Elizabeth ‘Lisa’ Larkin
Lisa Larkin, of Ashley, has been awarded an MBE for services to charity, especially childhood cancer research.
She is the founder and president of Friends of Rosie, which she set up after the devastating death of her five-year-old daughter.
For more than 30 years the charity she founded has sponsored essential vital early stage research, raising more than £2.5million directly as well as unlocking multiple millions of pounds of further research investment from others.
Lisa, who is set to retire as a trustee and will take on the role of honorary president, said: “It certainly was a great surprise – it rendered me speechless for a while. It is a great honour which I shall share with all the many friends, family and perfect strangers who so generously gave their skills, time and support over the last 30 years.”
Terasa and Laura Newton-Harris
Terasa and Laura Newton-Harris have been awarded British Empire Medals for services to the community in Ellesmere Port, where they live. The couple, who have been together for 20 years, the joint owners and operators of a local theatre company and community art space.
They first started the Boaty Theatre Company in 2010 at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port, first as an informal club and then as a registered charity, to create a theatrical production for the museum. The company has gone on to take their productions to theatrical festivals, including nationally recognised events such as the RSC’s Summer Dell festival in Stratford-upon-Avon and the Edinburgh Fringe, as well as offering a range of support and activities to young people and adults in the local community.
Terasa said: “It came as a complete surprise and at the end of what had been a difficult couple of weeks following the immediate closure of the building we operated from in the town centre. Luckily we were able to set up quickly to continue our work.
“It was also the same week we found out that our Young Theatre Makers will be performing at National Theatre as part of the National’s Connections festival which is a nationwide celebration of youth theatre.
“We celebrated being a couple for 20 years at the beginning of the month as well so it’s lovely that we are both recognised at the same time as we set up the Boaty together 12 years ago.”
Other Cheshire residents recognised on the first King’s birthday honours list are:
- Arturo Vilches-Moraga, of Wilmslow, a consultant geriatrician and physician with the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, who has been awarded an MBE for services to geriatric patients
- David Walker, of Macclesfield, former vice president/ managing director of UK&I Managed Estate, who has been awarded an MBE for services to the hospitality industry and to charity
- Heather Newton, of Crewe, a care worker and Salvation Army volunteer, who has been awarded a BEM for services to the community in Crewe and Nantwich
- Stephen Rogers, of Nantwich – a former district judge in the county and family court, mental health tribunal chair and recorder of the crown court – who awarded a CBE for services to the administration of justice
- Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham, of Crewe, professor of general practice research at Keele University, who has been awarded an OBE for services to general practice and patient care, and to primary care research, particularly into long Covid
- Christopher Oglesby, of Nantwich, chief executive officer of Bruntwood, who has been awarded an OBE for services to charity and to regeneration in the north-west of England
- John Bennett, of Nantwich, group scout leader of Wistaston Scout group, who has been awarded an MBE for services to young people in Cheshire
- Catherine Daley, of Warrington, former constable with British Transport Police, who has been awarded an MBE for services to law and order
- Emma Hart, of Ellesmere Port, deputy head of Engagement and Protocol and lately chief media operations and events officerin the Cabinet Office’s COP26 unit, who has been awarded an MBE for services to COP26 and to the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
- William Morgan, of Prestbury, patron and fundraiser with the NSPCC, who has been awarded an MBE for services to charity
- Professor Catherine Parker, of Macclesfield, chair of the Chair, Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, who has been awarded an MBE for services to education and to place management
- Jay Patel, of Crewe, a qualified person assessor at AstraZeneca, who has been awarded an MBE for services to public health during Covid-19
- Dorothy Dentith, of Congleton, who has been awarded a BEM for services to girl guiding and to the community in Congleton