NEW YEAR HONOURS: Derbyshire’s community heroes recognised for their work

Richard Dale, from Chesterfield, becomes an MBE.

Richard Dale, from Chesterfield, becomes an MBE.

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A group of tireless Derbyshire community servants have been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Mariner Richard Dale, from Chesterfield, has been recognised at the highest level with an MBE, for his contribution to the Maritime Volunteer Service (MVS).

John Nelson, Leader of Belper Town Council.

John Nelson, Leader of Belper Town Council.

He is currently the nautical charity’s honorary president, having served as national secretary for six years, and a trustee for nine years, until the end of 2014.

Richard said: “I’m honoured to have been nominated for this award and delighted to accept it. I regard this as a tribute to all the hard work put in by my colleagues in the MVS for the benefit of their local communities. I shall cherish this award and wear it with pride.”

During a long career in the Civil Service, Richard dedicated his spare time to his love of the sea, serving for 13 years in the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service before joining the MVS when it was founded in 1994.

Richard worked his way up through the organisation, making good use of his administration skills to run the national headquarters as an unpaid volunteer.

During his time as secretary, the charity was given the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, and played a key role in the sailing and rowing events at the 2012 Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant that same year.

Other MBE recipients include Col Michael Cheetham, from Ilkeston, and Edwina Edwards, Chief Executive of Bakewell and Eyam Community Transport, both for services to the Derbyshire community. Shirley Dooley, also from Ilkeston, becomes an MBE for her work with the immigration service at the Home Office.

Belper Town Council leader John Nelson said he was pleasantly surprised after being made an MBE for services to the community.

The 74-year-old said his award came as a bolt out of the blue and that he still enjoys being involved with the goings-on in the Amber Valley town.

He said: “To get an honour for something that you love doing is just brilliant.

“I’ve been a councillor for 28 years, but my work in the community started before I became one.

“I’m born and bred in Belper and it’s my home.”

Clay target shooting coach Joseph Neville, from Matlock, becomes an MBE for services to competitive shooting, alongside Bakewell’s Adrian Wills for services to the community in Leicester. Mr Wills heads the Leicester Library Service.

There is also an MBE for Hilcote’s Stephen Knox, formerly Independent Monitoring Board Member at HM Prison Morton Hall, for services to prisoners.

Another community servant receiving honours recognition is Sybil Naylor, 71, who has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Since she moved to Dronfield in 1966, Sybil has been part of the local church of St John, first as a Sunday school teacher and currently as a church warden.

She has also been a member of St John Ambulance for more than 30 years, for 20 of which she served as Superintendent of the Dronfield Division. During this time she led a campaign that raised more than £50,000 to provide a state of the art ambulance for use as a mobile treatment centre and transport service for medical appointments and disabled groups.

Sybil became a voluntary First Aid trainer, teaching Cubs, Scouts, Brownies and Guides, and still helps with First Aid demonstrations and fundraising as well as setting up the Dronfield Community First Responders group.

She has also been an active supporter of many local groups including the Women’s Institute, Townswomen’s Guild and Mothers’ Union, Dronfield Disabled Club and Dronfield Music Festival. She is actively involved with the Dronfield Light Opera Group as treasurer and managing costumes and stage props.

Another BEM recipient is Colin Picken, from Belper, who was the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal co-ordinator for Derbyshire.

Over the years he has spearheaded the Ambergate branch and helped raise millions of pounds to support veterans and those still actively serving.

Colin said: “It came as a shock but a very pleasant one. I feel very honoured.”

The 78-year-old is still an active member of the branch and added: “This award is recognition of the volunteers who have supported the cause over the years by giving their time and effort.”

Fellow BEM recipients include Peter Fish, for services to the elderly community in Hollingworth, Hyde and Glossop, along with Jean Greatorex, from Ashbourne, and Joseph Roberts, from Chesterfield, for services to their local communities.