NEW YEAR HONOURS 2017: Ilkeston man’s decades of community work honoured

Joseph Cahill, from Ilkeston, has recieved an MBE in the 2017 New Year Honours list.
Joseph Cahill, from Ilkeston, has recieved an MBE in the 2017 New Year Honours list.

A police officer from Ilkeston has received an MBE for his work in the community he has served for almost three decades.

Joe Cahill, 60, has served as a police constable in the West Midlands for the last 27 years.

But as well as working as a full-time copper, he has also had a long association with the inner-city Broadway Academy in Birmingham - becoming its chair of governors in 2009.

He said: “We got the letter in November with ‘Her Majesty’ on it but when my wife rang me about she just assumed it was a tax bill.

“I asked her to open it and then we realised what it was.”

The citation says his work with the school and the wider community has broken down barriers between pupils and police officers.

Such has been his success that Broadway’s pupils voted to name their school’s cafe after their favourite policeman.

“You are only as good as the person who spots you - who identifies you as someone who could be good at something,” he says.

“So I will graciously accept this on behalf of all my colleagues who do such great work.

“I am just the lucky one who got noticed - there are a lot of unsung heroes out there.”

Joe - who currently lives in Ilkeston with his wife and has two grown-up daughters and a grandson - says he thinks he has the headteacher at Broadway to thank for the accolade.

He spoke to the Assistant Chief Constable some years ago about putting Joe forward for a Queen’s Police Medal.

Nothing came of it at the time but now it looks as though that nomination came to the attention of some very influential people.

As well as his work with schoolchildren, Joe has also been praised for his work in bringing people of different faiths together in the diverse community of Perry Barr.

“I think getting people to be tolerant with each other is about respect,” he says.

“If you are prepared to give respect - you get respect back.”

Another Ilkeston resident to be honoured is Shona Powell, the Director of Nottingham Lakeside Arts, who receives an OBE for services to the arts and education.