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Queen's Honours recognise work of community stalwarts

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: June 16, 2012

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The talent, dedication, selflessness and tireless community spirit of the Westcountry was recognised in the Queen's birthday honours list.

Forty seven people from all walks of life in Devon and Cornwall were decorated with honours ranging from OBEs and MBEs to the reinstated British Empire Medal.

Among those on the list of decorated individuals was Dawn Shute, from Newton Abbot, who was handed the MBE for services to children with life-limiting Illnesses.

The 56-year-old mother of two has been the driving force in a campaign group which has raised more than £1million for Children Hospice South West.

Mrs Shute said she was "astonished and proud" to receive the award.

And although she was a founder member of the Torbay, Newton Abbot and District Support Group, she was quick to dedicate the medal to all the support group and staff, particularly co-founder and chief executive Eddie Farwell and his late wife Jill.

"I still cannot quite believe it, it all seems a bit surreal," she told the Western Morning News. "I have been there since the beginning and done every job going but these things don't happen without other people."

She added: "A part of me feels rather humble and I don't really think I deserve the MBE – Jill Farwell, who got the award seven years ago, was amazing and I don't feel I should be on the same pedestal – I feel sort of embarrassed."

MBEs were also awarded to David and Helen Channing, from Plymouth, who have fostered almost 60 children over the last 32 years, and 85-year-old Norman Pampling, from Liskeard, who has been a member of the Liskeard Branch of the Royal British Legion since 1953 raising many thousands of pounds for the Poppy Appeal.

Mr Pampling and his late wife were also the founder members of Eastern Cornwall Handicap Organisation (ECHO), now known as ECHO Cornwall charity, which opened its own centre in 1991.

A submariner from Devon was also awarded the MBE for his expertise in helping maintain Britain's nuclear deterrent submarine fleet.

Warrant Officer 1 Brian Hall, who is based Devonport, Plymouth, has been in the Royal Navy for 39 years and worked on numerous submarines as an engineer, most recently on the three-year refit and refuel of HMS Vigilant.

Mr Hall, who lives in Teignmouth with his wife Jayne, said: "Unusually I am still a sea-going sailor at the grand age of 56, those on ships are mostly younger. I know that without the support of my wife and her bringing up our children in my long absences at sea, I could not have committed myself so fully to the service. She deserves this award as much as me."

Philip Barnett, director of Kidz R Us in St Ives, Cornwall, said he thought "would you believe it? A miner's son from Yorkshire has got an award from the Queen" when his BEM letter arrived.

Passionate about the theatre, Mr Barnett, 51, established the youth group in 1993. Since then more than 1,500 young people have been involved, putting on more 50 musical shows including ones in the West End and at the Royal Albert Hall.

"It is all about what the young people get out of it," Mr Barnett said. "Kids have so may problems these days but here you see their confidence growing, you see them changing as people."

In the world of sport, Bob Widdecombe, chairman of the Plymouth Raiders basketball team, was awarded an MBE for services to sport as well as for his work with the crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers.

Tony Rowe, the chairman and chief executive of Exeter Rugby Club, was recognised with an OBE for his work in business, sport and charity within Exeter.

Tony Rowe admitted to feeling "very humbled after hearing of his Queen's Birthday Honours award.

The 63-year-old former Royal Marine has been the figurehead of the rise of the Exeter Chiefs in recent years, while his business, the South West Communications Group, provides employment for more than 100 people.

He is also chairman of the Exeter Foundation, a charity which was set up in 2010 to provide a "civic trust" that promotes the local community and the vision of people who live and work there.

Another of the charities close to Mr Rowe and his wife Sharon is that of Vranch House, an independent day school in Exeter for children with significant physical difficulties.

"I feel very humbled to have been given this honour," Mr Rowe said. "Initially when I received the letter from the Cabinet Office, I thought to myself 'what I have done wrong now?' However, when I opened it up and saw the news I was initially shocked and could not believe it.

"Over the years I have been involved in so many different things locally, whether it be my business, through the rugby club or my work with charities, but they are all big aspects of my life and I enjoy every moment of working with them all. I am truly grateful to those who have nominated me for this honour as it was totally unexpected.

"Even now I am still pinching myself somewhat about getting the OBE, but at the same time I wish to thank all those others who have helped and assisted me over the years in my various pursuits. This award is as much for those people as it is for me."

See a list of those in Cornwall recognised in the Queen's birthday honours listSee a list of those in Devon recognised in the Queen's birthday honours list

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