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Rail boss, weather forecaster and art expert recognised in New Year Honours list

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 29, 2012

Monika Kinley, influential veteran art collector from Plymouth, is made an OBE

Monika Kinley, influential veteran art collector from Plymouth, is made an OBE

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Scientists, sports stars and business leaders have been named alongside unsung heroes from the charity and arts world in the New Year Honours list for Devon and Somerset.

Gardeners, conservationists, carers and the region's railway chief also joined the annual roll call as the great and good were rewarded for their endeavours.

The director of forecasting at the Met office, Professor Brian Golding, was handed an OBE after 40 years at the Exeter-based organisation.

The renowned expert in weather prediction, from Sidmouth, was honoured for services to weather forecasting and the prediction of hazardous weather.

Joining him from was Monika Kinley, from Plymouth, a Berliner who fled Nazi Germany as a child in the 1930s and went on to become a highly influential figure in post-war contemporary art.

Fresh from the battle to keep flood-hit Westcountry rail lines open, First Great Western's regional manager in the West, Julian Crow, received the MBE.

Mr Crow, 61, who lives in Newton Ferrers in the South Hams, said he had been "surprised" and "thrilled" by the honour.

"It is a lovely thing to happen towards the end of a long career," he said. "My wife is thrilled and deserves at least half of it. Having spent so long in the rail industry you just keep your head down and get on with it."

Mr Crow, who was commended for services to the rail industry joined British Rail as a trainee and rose through the ranks, joining Great Western just before privatisation in the 1990s.

As regional manager during the latest franchise he says he is most proud of the renaissance in branch line trains, which has seen record numbers of passengers on half a dozen small lines in Devon and Cornwall. "The real enjoyment has been managing the local services, which are doing better than ever in their history," he added.

Fellow recipient of the OBE, Mrs Kinley, 87, rose from postcard seller at the Tate gallery in London to a renowned curator, instrumental in promoting the outsider art movement and creating a permanent exhibition at Manchester's Whitworth gallery

The art dealer and artists' agent received the OBE for services to the visual arts, following a recommendation from Tate gallery director Sir Nicholas Serota.

She said she was "honoured" at the award, despite spending years as an "anti-establishment" figure. "It is nice to be recognised and my family are thrilled – it is just a shame my partner is not around any more,2 she added.

Philip White, chief executive of Hestercombe Gardens, in Somerset, is made an MBE for his services to heritage garden restoration. The former dairy farmer uncovered a lost landscape garden and transformed the whole site into an attraction now listed amongst the top 20 gardens in Britain.

He said: "It's been a great privilege to be able to restore this extraordinary historic landscape. You could say, it then became my life's mission."

Other MBEs went to Jean Bradford, from Teignmouth, founder of the South Devon Seabird Trust; also named was Nicholas Lewis, from Crediton, former deputy chief executive of the South West Regional Development Agency.

Alan Smith, from Newton Abbot, chairman of the Plymouth manufacturer Pipex Ltd, was honoured for services to manufacturing. Marilyn Joy Kelly, also of Newton Abbot, was honoured for charitable services.

Frances Elizabeth White, manager of Little Haddon Residential Care Home, in Axminster, was recognised for services to people with learning disabilities.

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