Recognition for outstanding service: Ten locals named in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Jennifer Jenkins.
Jennifer Jenkins.

Local people working in a variety of sectors are to receive honours for significant achievement or outstanding service to the community.

Ten people from the Newtownabbey area were named in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, which was published at the end of last week.

Alan Strong.

Alan Strong.

Among those named on the list are former Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Thomas Hogg, who will receive an MBE for services to local government, and Noreen Campbell, ex-principal of Hazelwood College and former chief executive of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, who gets an OBE for services to the development of integrated education.

Jennifer Jenkins, senior executive officer at Ballyclare High School, is to receive an MBE for services to education.

“I am absolutely overwhelmed and amazed by it all. My phone hasn’t stopped all weekend and I’d just like to thank people for all their kindness,” she said.

Jen, as she’s known to friends and colleagues, started working at the Rashee Road school as an office junior at the age of 16.

Gregory Butler.

Gregory Butler.

Praising her hard work and dedication over the years, school principal, Dr Michelle Rainey commented: “I just don’t know how she does all she does, continuously giving, ever positive. Her behaviour epitomises all that is rich and good and the pastoral support she provides for us all, above all else, is priceless. Her modesty and patience is humbling. School is like a big family and Jen is just adored by our pupils and staff. No one deserves this accolade more and we are so proud of her.”

Straid woman Sandara Kelso-Robb, executive director of the Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland, gets an MBE for services to volunteering and charitable organisations.

In her role with the organisation (formerly Lloyds Bank Foundation), she is responsible for distributing over £1million of grant aid each year to grass roots charities with the aim of improving life within local communities.

Sandara is also strategic advisor to Giving Northern Ireland, an organisation that promotes philanthropic giving on a strategic level and is a founding member of Give Inc, an all-female giving circle that has raised over £60,000

Sandara Kelso-Robb.

Sandara Kelso-Robb.

Expressing her “delight” at having been recognised for her work, she said: “I feel passionately that you can really make a difference to society by giving your time and skills to help others. You don’t need to be a millionaire to be a philanthropist.”

Alan Strong, senior lecturer at Ulster University’s School of the Built Environment, has been awarded an MBE for services to higher education and sport.

Mr Strong, who is director of coaching at Table Tennis Ulster and served on the Sports Council board for eight years, retired from his full-time position at Ulster University in April.

“I am delighted. It’s a great honour, not only for me, but also for my family,” he told the Times.

Gregory Patrick Butler, former regional managing director (South Eastern and Southern Regions) with the Education Authority, receives an OBE for services to education.

A former teacher and youth worker, Mr Butler worked for the South Eastern Education and Library Board for many years and in the latter stages of his career had the strategic planning role for Area Planning and Community Planning across Northern Ireland.

Glengormley man Donald Fry, who served as secretary of the Boys’ Brigade Old Boys Football League for more than 20 years, receives the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to amateur football.

“I have no idea who nominated me, but it is quite an honour. I found out three or four weeks ago and it was a real surprise,” he said.

Also awarded a BEM is William George Lunn, who has been recognised for services to the community.

Others named on the list include Kevin Martin McCann, director of research and development with Invest NI, who gets an OBE for services to economic development, and Elizabeth Ann Bell, vice chair of South Antrim Community Transport, who will receive an MBE for voluntary service to community transport.