Nearly 40 Cambs heroes on Queen’s Honours List 2021

Nearly 40 people who live or work in Cambridgeshire are on the Queen’s Honours List for the extraordinary efforts made throughout the pandemic.

The list includes those who have worked throughout the crisis, putting others before themselves – from caring neighbours, frontline and community heroes, to those supporting the UK recovery.

The youngest recipient in 21-year-old Amika George, a Cambridge University student and founder of the #FreePeriods Campaign who receives an MBE for services to education.

The student, who struggled with whether to accept the honour, fought for free period products to be provided at schools so that children do not miss out on their education.

She was 17 and in her first year of A-levels at school when she started the campaign and discovered this summer that she was getting the honour as she finished her history degree at Cambridge.

Her campaign to tackle period poverty, where young people have to miss out on school because they do not have sanitary products, was sparked because she was “shocked it was something that anyone had to face in the UK”, she said.

Also receiving an MBE is Rowhi Nemer, owner of CamCab, for offering free rides to NHS workers and air ambulance staff during the pandemic.

On average, more than 100 key workers a day used his fleet of about 150 vehicles, with Mr Nemer often waiting outside surgeons’ homes in the early hours to transport them for serious operations.

Rowhi Nemer.

A University of Cambridge professor has received a Knighthood for his services to statistics and policy making.

Professor John Aston, Professor of Statistics and Home Office chief scientific adviser, championed the use of science and research across the department, with personal impact on national security and public safety. Among other achievements, he played a central role in the Home Office response to Covid-19, ensuring Home Secretary Priti Patel was briefed and the latest scientific advice could be used.

Professor Andrew Hopper CBE, professor of computer technology in the Department of Computer Science and Technology, has been knighted for services to computer technology. He is treasurer and vice-president of the Royal Society, and has made a major impact on the modern digital world through pioneering work in computer systems and architectures.

Philip Augar, also from Cambridge, received a Knighthood for chairing an independent panel contributing to the government’s review of post-18 education and funding, delivering a report that comprehensively changed the landscape of higher education.

Several people with links to Cambridgeshire have received CBEs.

Great Shelford-based Julie Deane OBE, founder and CEO of The Cambridge Satchel Company, received one for her services to entrepreneurship and manufacturing.

The company, which makes traditional leather satchels, has been popular with the Royals, with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visiting the Leicester factory.

David Hunt, head of vaccine operations at AstraZeneca, received the honour for his services to healthcare.

Other AstraZeneca employees and researchers receiving an honour are Dr Richard Marshall CBE, senior vice president and global head of late respiratory and immunology; Juliette White CBE, vice president for Global Sustainability; David Hunt CBE, head of vaccine operations; and Mark Proctor CBE, senior director of the global supply chain.

Receiving an OBE are Steve Rees, vice-president of Discovery Biology, Amanda Leach, global clinical head of Medicines Discovery; and Richard Turner, senior director of Biopharmaceutical. Jon Elliott, director of government affairs and policy, received an MBE.

The Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company manufactured a Covid vaccine with the University of Oxford.

Receiving a CBE is world-leading conservation scientist Professor William Sutherland, Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Cambridge.

Professor William Sutherland, University of Cambridge

He advises the government and conservation organisations such as Natural England and the National Trust, and even created the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, which works to identify and research global environmental problems and finding solutions.

Five more people have received OBEs – Professor Jagjit Chadha, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research for services to economics and economic policy; Dr Frederick Clements, CEO of the British Trust for Ornithology, received an OBE for services to conservation and policy; Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, director of the Centre for Climate Repair at the University of Cambridge received an OBE for services the Covid-19 response; Susan Freestone, from Witcham near Ely, received an OBE for services to education and the community in Cambridgeshire; Professor James Wood, head of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge and Wolfson College fellow, received a CBE for services to veterinary science.

Receiving an MBE is Arif Ahmed, a reader at Cambridge University, for services to education.

The Gonville and Caius fellow came to the fore after Cambridge students protested over academic freedom and free speech, calling for the No Platforming of speakers.

Professor James Wood, Cambridge University

In response, the university council proposed changes to its free speech policy with a code of conduct for staff, students and visitors endorsing robust and challenging debate, free speech within the law and an expectation that all would be free to express themselves without fear of disrespect. This led more than 100 academics to back his motion to change respectful to tolerant.

Billy Boyle, CEO of Owlstone Medical, received an MBE for services to engineering. He is widely regarded as a pioneer of disruptive technology for non-invasive diagnostic screening of disease, including cancers, which is showing enormous potential and is already saving lives today.

His technology has applications ranging from toxic gas detection on the battlefield to cancer diagnostics.

One of his inventions has been described as a breathalyser for disease, which he created after his wife died of colon cancer.

Huntingdon-based Daryl Brown, chief executive of Magpas Air Ambulance, received an MBE for services to Magpas and the air ambulance sector during his 11-year career.

During this time, he has transformed the charity from a sporadic, voluntary scheme operating on £250,000 per year, to become a 24/7 Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine (PHEM) air ambulance service, staffed by doctors and paramedics.

Magpas Air Ambulance
(Image: Magpas)

Sam Dyer, director and CEO of Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC, has received an MBE for services to tackling food inequality during Covid.

Cambridge-based Dr Abdul Faruqi, senior research scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, received an MBE for services to medical research.

Environmental journalist Sarah-Jane Mukherjee, from Royston, received an MBE for services to British agriculture and farmer wellbeing. She has developed ground-breaking policy, engaging with stakeholders at the highest level in the fields of crop protection and agricultural science.

Eight people in the area have also received BEMs.

Royston-based Geoffrey Apperley, deputy national welfare adviser at The Royal Naval Association for voluntary service, received the BEM for support of Naval Veterans during Covid-19.

Carol Aston, Designing Out Crime Officer at Cambridgeshire Constabulary, received a BEM for services to policing and to the community in Ramsey.

Huntingdon-based Joanne Balmer, chief executive officer at Oakland Care, received a BEM for services to social care during Covid-19.

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Peter Dee, from Duxford, received a BEM for services to the community for managing the building of a £1.3 million community centre, which has taken more than a decade of his time and effort. His “selfless determination” as the parish council chair was described as being inspiring to witness.

Clare Hawkins, head of nursing at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group from Huntingdon, received a BEM for services to nursing during the pandemic.

Reverend Anne Catharina Rigelsford received a BEM for services to the community in Cambridge as a founder of both the Cambridge Churches Homeless Project and a charity known as Cambridge Convoy for Refugees, both of which support homeless people.

Godmanchester-based Claire Higgins received an MBE as chief executive of Cross Keys Homes in Peterborough, which provides affordable and social housing.

Zillur Hussain, owner of Tavan Restaurant in Peterborough, received an MBE for services to the community during the pandemic for delivering nearly 20,000 free meals.

Mohammed Saeed, vice chairman of Community First, received a BEM for services to the Peterborough community.

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