OBE in Queen’s birthday honours for north Norfolk SureStart chief Ian Duckmanton from Catfield

Ian Duckmanton, who has been made an OBE in today's Queen's birthday honours, has devoted his career in north Norfolk to improving life for children under five and their families.

Mr Duckmanton, 43, gave up his own home improvements business and moved to Norfolk 15 years ago to work for the charity Action For Children as East Anglian fund-raiser, later becoming responsible for the whole south-east region, including London.

In 2003 when the government SureStart scheme was launched, Action For Children was chosen to deliver the service in the north Norfolk area and Mr Duckmanton was appointed programme manager.

During the following five years he established 'from scratch' the Poppyland SureStart Centres in Mundesley, Cromer, North Walsham and Stalham and estimated that he and his team had now helped some 1,000 families with an ever-growing range of services targeted at mums-to-be, post-natal support and children in their early years.

The centres received a 'good' with 'outstanding' features report from Ofsted last year and Mr Duckmanton believed they had improved the life chances of children who would otherwise have been disadvantaged through lack of support.

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He added that he felt the honour was a vindication of his work with SureStart which had met with some early resistance from those opposed to change and development.

Mr Duckmanton, who comes from Nottingham, said he had been involved in voluntary work with children from an early age, through his church, as a scout and, later, a scout leader.

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He lives in Catfield with his partner, Lisa, and they have five children between them, aged from 10 to 15.

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