Bristolians speak of joy at New Year Honours
A MAN who helps to feed Bristol's homeless every weekend has been recognised in the New Year's Honours List.
Martyn Poole, 66, was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community.
As a founder of the Bristol Soup Run Trust, he has been its driving force for more than 25 years, organising food, toiletries, clothing and blankets for Bristol's homeless every Saturday night.
He was among 20 people from all walks of life from around the Greater Bristol area to receive honours.
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A couple from Redland who have fostered more than 90 children over the last 33 years, a Bristol children's doctor who has made a huge difference to paediatric medicine in the city, and the founder of Weston-super-Mare's Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) Concert Band were also among those honoured.
Mr Poole, who lives in Meadow Close, Downend, leads a team of voluntary workers.
They encourage those living on the streets to get in contact with their families.
Mr Poole, a retired British Aerospace engineer, has also been involved with Haven House, an orphanage in India.
He has raised more than £50,000 to build and equip a school at the orphanage, and create a medical centre for nearby villages.
He is also a school governor at St Augustine's School in Downend, a voluntary worker at his local St Peter's Hospice shop, and a parish councillor with Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council.
Mr Poole told The Post he was embarrassed to receive the award, but glad the work of all the volunteers at the Bristol Soup Run Trust was being recognised.
He said: "I only became involved in the soup run by accident when a friend of mine told me he was going to help out one night 25 years ago.
"At the moment we help around 80 people – you meet some lovely people, many of whom are in great need."
Dorene Hargreaves has been keeping people active for 50 years at her fitness classes, held weekly at St Francis church hall, Ashton Gate, and Wick village hall, near Warmley.
But the 80-year-old great-grandmother likes to move with the times, so her "old girls", some of whom are also in their 80s, exercise to Alesha Dixon's hit The Boy Does Nothing.
Mrs Hargreaves, who lives with her husband Stanley, 82, at their farm in Wick, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Bedminster and Wick.
Mrs Hargreaves has run the Bristol Race for Life nine times and also goes dancing with her husband.
Mrs Hargreaves said that when she received a letter telling her about the award, she "thought they'd sent it to the wrong address".
She said: "He said 'it's from the Cabinet' and I said 'what have I done wrong?'
"I just couldn't believe it."
Foster carers Jackie and John Franklin, both 62, from Redland, were both appointed MBEs for services to children and families.
They have cared for more than 90 children over the last 33 years, including babies who are drug addicted, blind children, and those with hearing problems and Down's syndrome.
Mrs Franklin said: "We are very excited – it's great that we have both been honoured because although I am the primary foster carer and John works as a full-time chartered surveyor, I would not have been able to do this without him. The best thing about what we do is knowing you have made a difference to these children's lives."
Former High Sheriff of Bristol Robert Durie has been made an OBE for services to the community.
Mr Durie, who is 71 and lives in Abbots Leigh, is also a former president of Bristol Chamber of Commerce, and a trustee of a number of charities, including the Anchor Society, which supports isolated elderly people in the area, and Bristol Youth Community Action, which provides opportunities for young people from disadvantaged communities.
He said: "It is a wonderful unexpected surprise.
"I feel humble but delighted. I see this as an acknowledgment of what all those wonderful people with whom I have been associated over so many years mostly unsung, have and continue to contribute to our society."
Bristol children's doctor Professor Bhupinder Sandhu, above left, was appointed an OBE.
The 61-year-old, who lives in Clifton, was honoured for her services to children's medicine.
The paediatric gastroenterologist has worked at Bristol Children's Hospital for nearly 25 years, and when she started she was the only woman doctor on site.
She came to England from India in 1963 and had to study in her own time to make up the qualifications she needed to read medicine at university.
After her appointment in Bristol, she built a children's gastroenterology unit dealing with nutritional diseases.
She said: "I am lucky because I have enjoyed every moment of my career and it's nice to see that work being recognised."
Peter Skellon, below left, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Weston-super-Mare's Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) Concert Band.
Father-of-two Mr Skellon, 62, a former clerk and established musician in the RAF, set up the band in 1998 after the town's RAF Locking Camp closed.
Mr Skellon, who plays the tuba and double bass, has led the 30-strong band ever since as its musical director, playing at venues across the country, raising tens of thousands for charity.
Mr Skellon, who lives in Locking and works part time as a civil servant, said: "I never dreamt I would be awarded anything like this.
"I have played in front of Her Majesty before, but I am not sure she will remember that when she presents me with my medal."
Michael Shore, president of the Bristol and District Rugby Football Combination, was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to community rugby in the South West.
Mr Shore, 75, of Sea Mills, said: "I came to Bristol from Derby, a football city, and was introduced to rugby as a 13-year-old. "I enjoyed it so much that I joined Avonmouth Rugby club and have been there ever since. To me rugby is lifelong enjoyment and real friendship – it is one of the greatest team sports in the world."
Monica Murdoch, 83, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in her home village of Blagdon.
Among her activities, Mrs Murdoch, a mother of two, cooks once a month for the local lunch club, of which she was treasurer for many years.
She also does a variety of voluntary work, including as a driver for the Church Helpline in the village which helps arrange lifts to medical appointments for those who cannot drive.
She said: "I was very surprised when I got the letter – I couldn't believe it was true.
"I like being part of the community and giving something back and it's something I have always done."
Marilyn Darg, right, 58, of Langford, has been appointed an MBE for services to the administration of justice. Mrs Darg, a mum-of-one, has been a magistrate on the North Somerset bench for 15 years.
As well as sitting on the bench, Mrs Darg also organises tours, talks and visits to help raise awareness of the work of magistrates and of how the criminal justice system works.
She said: "I have always been interested in the law and injustice but was surprised and honoured to learn I had been recognised in the New Year Honours."
Defra Policy officer Jane Withey, founder of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime, has been appointed an MBE for services to wildlife crime enforcement and to the Guides in North Somerset.
Miss Withey, 54, of Keynsham, said: "It is a great honour and a total surprise to receive an MBE. When the letter arrived I had to sit down. I stuffed the letter back in the envelope and hid it away. It wasn't until later in the evening that I took it out again to check that it was real."
She has given 37 years service to the Guides in North Somerset.
Kathy Ford, left, head of corporate information services for Avon and Somerset Police, has been appointed MBE for services to information management in policing.
During her 22 years with Avon and Somerset the Portishead mum-of-two has been involved in setting up the 1998 Data Protection Act in the force area and took responsibility for implementation of the recommendations of the Bichard Report and the Freedom of Information Act in 2000.
Mrs Ford, who has been married to husband Mike for 43 years, said: "When in late November I received a letter marked 'Urgent' from the Cabinet Office, I wondered what I had done! After opening the letter I was shocked to read that I had been honoured with an MBE.
"I find it amazing that I can receive this award for doing something I have thoroughly enjoyed every day for more than 22 years. It is a wonderful conclusion to my career with Avon and Somerset Police."
Chief Constable Colin Port added: "I'm delighted that Kathy has been recognised and honoured by Her Majesty The Queen.
"She has been a stalwart in protecting the public and our organisation, not only on a local basis but she has also advised nationally with her expertise."
Highly acclaimed landscape artist and sculptor Richard Long, right, has been appointed a CBE for services to art.
He was born in Bristol in 1945, studied at the University of the West of England's college of art and St Martin's School of Art in London, and he has exhibited all over the world.
Mr Long, who still lives and works in the city, is a "land artist", working with wood, mud and other natural materials he collects from the countryside.
He has been nominated for the Turner Prize more times than anyone else, in 1984, 1987, 1988 and finally in 1989 when he won.
Margaret Jackson has been appointed an MBE for her services to charity for her work in helping launch and run the North Somerset Masonic Widows Association.
Grandmother of four, Mrs Jackson, 81, of Redhill, was spurred on to help set up the association in October 1996 after her husband Percy, who was a mason, died in June 1981, leaving her with three young sons.
The pensioner has held the position of chairman of the association, which has around 100 members, ever since.
The association, which is open for widows of masons, meets each month and enjoys talks, outings and holidays together as well as raising thousands of pounds for charity.
Mrs Jackson said: "I was widowed at a young ago and felt the association would be a great idea for other ladies who had been widowed.
"The association has given me a new life in a way and I have made a tremendous amount of new friends through it.
"I feel very honoured to receive such an accolade."
Dr Marian Frances Liebmann was appointed an OBE for services to social justice through art therapy and mediation in Bristol and overseas.
Dr Liebmann is a world expert in restorative justice and former director of Mediation UK.
She has also worked as an art therapist for Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust and is author/editor of The Use Of Art In Working With Conflict, and Art Approaches To Conflict.
Martin Sadler, director of the Cloud and Security Lab at Hewlett Packard Laboratories based in Stoke Gifford, has been appointed an OBE for services to science.
He also supports HP's security office to coordinate security efforts across the company.
Sadler, who has a degree in pure mathematics, lectured in theoretical computing science and advanced software engineering at Imperial College, London, before joining HP Labs in 1989.
He subsequently managed projects in the area of telephony call control before leading early work on e-business and security.
An acclaimed scientist who grew up in Bristol and later gave his name to the "God particle" was appointed a Companion of Honour.
Professor Peter Higgs, below left, now 83, attended Cotham Grammar School and was inspired by the work of one of the school's alumni, Paul Dirac, a founder of the field of quantum mechanics.
His namesake, the Higgs boson, or so-called "God particle", was finally proved to exist in July, 48 years after he first proposed it.
Former Avon and Somerset police assistant chief constable Jackie Roberts, who is now the temporary chief constable of Dyfed Powys police in Wales, has been awarded the Queen's Police Medal.
St Brendan's Sixth Form College assistant principal Ruth Pickersgill, who lives in Fishponds, has been appointed MBE for services to further education.
Catherine Greig, who is general manager of The Travelling Light Theatre Company in Barton Hill, has been appointed an MBE for services to theatre for young people in Bristol.