Senior nurse and RNLI hero - local people on the New Year's honours list

Fence being put up by Horsey Friends of Seals and Natural England Volunteers at Winterton beach to p

Peter Ansell. - Credit: Archant

A senior nurse, charity founder and RNLI stalwart are among those in Norfolk and Waveney to have been recognised in the Queen's New Year's honours list.

Nationally, seven-time Formula One world title winner Lewis Hamilton has been given a knighthood in the list, which was announced on Wednesday night, as well as veteran footballers Jimmy Greaves and Ron Flowers, who were made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

There was a damehood for actress Sheila Hancock and Kim Leadbeater, sister of murdered MP Jo Cox, was made an MBE.

Locally, those recognised include Jacqueline Copping, director of nursing at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, for her services to nursing, particularly during Covid-19.

The Beccles senior nurse was made an MBE, along with professor Kristian Bowles, consultant haematologist and associate medical director of research and innovation at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, for his services to the NHS during Covid-19.

Nikki Scott of Scotty's Little Soldiers.Byline: Sonya DuncanCopyright: Archant 2017

Nikki Scott of Scotty's Little Soldiers.Byline: Sonya DuncanCopyright: Archant 2017 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

They are joined by Nikki Scott, the founder and chief executive officer of Scotty's Little Soldiers in King's Lynn, who was given a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to charity.

The cause supports the children of servicemen and women who have died.

Melanie Elliott, from Great Ellingham, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to victims of domestic abuse.

The 57-year-old retired police officer works for SafeLives, a national charity which supports victims and delivers specialist training to professionals working on the frontline. 

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Mrs Elliott is responsible for creating Domestic Abuse Matters, a programme aimed at giving police the tools required to provide the best possible service for abuse victims.

Elizabeth Armstrong was given a BEM for her services to archaeology and to the community in Norwich.

Elsewhere, Peter Ansell was given a BEM after spending the last decade caring for grey seals along Norfolk's east coast.

Mr Ansell, 86, who lives in Rollesby, was one of the founding members of the group Friends of Horsey Seals, which this spring will be celebrating its 10th anniversary. He now acts as the charity's chairman.

Reflecting on his medal, awarded to individuals for meritorious civil or military service, Mr Ansell said: "I'm just someone who likes seals, and a spokesperson for the group.

"The real honour should go to the wardens and the work they do, whatever the weather."

He also paid tribute to his wife, who he joked is his "unpaid and unofficial PA".

In fact, Mr Ansell was so incredulous at the email he received from the Cabinet Office informing him of his award he dismissed it as a scam.

He said: "They sent me a few telling me I had this award. I thought: 'this is definitely someone trying to get money out of me.'"

From left Angel, Darren and Phil Eaglen of the Wells lifeboat crew. Photograph: RNLI.

From left Angel, Darren and Phil Eaglen of the Wells lifeboat crew. Photograph: RNLI. - Credit: Archant

And a volunteer who has dedicated more than 50 years to helping save lives at sea has been made an MBE for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). 

Phillip Eaglen joined Wells Lifeboat station in North Norfolk in July 1967 after being persuaded to join by his then boss.  

In the following decades Mr Eaglen has taken part dozens of shouts, played a number of roles at Wells Lifeboat station including as a crew member on the off-shore lifeboat and emergency mechanic. 

He has also inspired younger generations of his own family to become lifeboat crew members with his son Darren and granddaughter Angel both volunteering with Wells lifeboat. 

David Thompson, who has been made an MBE.

David Thompson, who has been made an MBE. - Credit: Submitted

David Thompson, 68 and from Costessey, has been made an MBE for his services to architecture and to the community in Norfolk.

He is most notably known by many for his involvement in the Cley Visitor Centre project, in north Norfolk, and has also made an exceptional commitment to other ventures in the region.  

The married father-of-two said: “When I found out, it was out of the blue and completely unexpected. But it did give me a very warm feeling.”  

Mr Thompson, who retired almost seven years ago, said he has been busy the entire time and was grateful that he had been able to be involved in a number of projects.  

“I’ve got to know different slices of society... Norfolk has given me a terrific platform to further my ambition to enhance communities.”  

Pearl Brunning has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Eriswell in the New Years Hon

Pearl Brunning has been awarded a BEM for services to Eriswell in the New Year Honours list - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Meanwhile, community champion Pearl Brunning, 81, has been involved with the St Laurence and St Peter church in Eriswell and has been a member of the parish council for nearly 50 years.

Her work over the years has benefitted the village as a whole, including her road safety work and taking a leading role on Eriswell's charitable committee.

For her efforts over several decades, Mrs Brunning has been awarded a BEM.

She said: "I was overcome when I found out - I couldn't believe it.

"I've always enjoyed doing these things."

In the Fens, Janet Bays, of Tydd St Mary, and Valerie Ware, of Tydd St Giles, both received the BEM for their dedication and services to their communities.

Valerie said: “I was absolutely amazed; I could’ve been knocked down with a feather when I got the phone call. It’s a great honour.”  

She has been a member of the Women’s Institute for 40 years. For 33 of those years, she was on the committee and spent eight years as Chair of the Isle of Ely Federation which she gave up only in May.  

The retired headteacher has also served as a school governor for 18 years, a parish councillor for 20 years, organised dances in the village community hall and also the bi-monthly over-60s lunches.  

She said: “We’ve had to stop the community activities because of the current situation, but we’re keen to get started again as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

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