Third sector heroes gain recognition

Honours 2019

A variety of third sector staff and volunteers are set for a visit to Buckingham Palace after being recognised in the New Year's Honours List

4th January 2019 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Third sector heroes have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.

A variety of workers and volunteers have formed a strong Scottish charity contingent on the list.

Paul Okroj, head of volunteering at Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland, was amongst those to receive Royal recognition.

He was awarded an OBE for his commitment to volunteering as co-chair of the Scottish Volunteering Forum and for chairing Befriending Network UK for six years.

Okroj said: “I am truly honoured to receive this award. However, the people who really should get this are the thousands of people who give their time to make a difference through volunteering. Their efforts are truly heroic and they change lives.  

“I am passionate about sharing the impact and the difference volunteering makes across Scotland. I believe that highlighting the significant contribution that volunteering fosters inclusive and resilient communities. Volunteering is critical to improving societal and wellbeing in Scotland.

“Volunteers are vital to Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland’s No Life Half Lived strategy. Quite simply, we cannot support the one in five people in Scotland living with chest, heart and stroke conditions without the time, support and commitment of our volunteers.”

Graham Bell, former chief executive of children and young people’s charity Kibble, received an OBE for services to education, residential child care and social enterprise.

For over 40 years, Bell dedicated his career to helping young people who need the most support.

He was the boss at Kibble from May 1993 until April of last year. During his time at the helm, the charity was transformed through his vision and determination to develop new approaches to care.

He was also chair of the Scottish Social Enterprise Academy for 11 years - guiding its evolution from a small national organisation to an international company working in 10 countries.

Jim Gillespie, Bell's successor at Kibble, said: "We couldn't be more pleased that Graham has been awarded this honour. Kibble has a long history, but the scale of the achievements made during his time here is unparalleled. Graham’s legacy is part of Kibble’s ongoing story, and this will continue as we develop our existing services and research avenues for new provision.

"Graham’s changes weren’t just noticed within Kibble, but also had an impact on the wider community. It is now recognised that with the right support young people can move on with their lives and play a valuable part in the community."

Jonathan Hart, of Lochaber Mountain Rescue, was also appointed an OBE and paid tribute to the work of his fellow volunteers.

Anne Lavery, chief operating officer of Citizens Advice Scotland, gained an OBE for services to consumers. Maureen O’Neill was another who received an OBE, with the Faith in Older People director recognised for her work with the elderly.

Former Scotland rugby star Doddie Weir was made an OBE having gone on to found the the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation, which has now raised more than £1 million for research, after being diagnosed with MND.

Ninety-year-old Gladys Sangster was granted an MBE after generating more than £2m for charity through her organisation Cancer Research Aberdeen and North East Scotland (Cranes).

“I feel honoured and slightly humbled,” she said.

“We’ve done quite a lot of work in Aberdeen and people have been very generous.

“They’ve dispelled the myth that Aberdonians don’t like to spend money.”

Sandy Farquharson also gained an MBE for his work with The Marie Trust, which fights homelessness in Glasgow city centre.

He told TFN: “This award was totally out of the blue but I feel should be shared by the staff at the Marie Trust - where I was formally the director - who worked so hard to improve the lives of people affected by homelessness and also my fellow partners in the City Ambition Network.

“This project has greatly improved the services for people affected by homelessness. The award however is tinged with a little sadness as the person who was the greatest support to me, my late wife Pat is not here to share this award with me. I am sure she would have approved.”

Others from the sector who were recognised with MBEs include Reach for Autism founder Vicki McCarthy, Oak Tree Housing Association vice-chair Jacqueline McKelvie and charity fundraiser Sheila MacLeod.

Colin Moffat, of Cove Bay, Aberdeen, has volunteered with the British Red Cross for 40 years and received a British Empire Medal.

"I always see the New Year Honours List but I never imagined my name would be on it one day,” he said.

"It's humbling to think a colleague took the time to nominate me and a huge honour. I'm still in shock."

7th January 2019 by John J

People who work for charities deserve recognition the same as everyone else (perhaps more so), and well done to all concerned.But... Maybe it's just me but is there not something quite nauseating in folk getting a medal at a palace from a billionaire in recognition of their work to - essentially - cope with the fallout of a deeply unequal, unfair economic and social system that has a hereditary monarchy at its apex?Also, some people from charities working in Africa have accepted these things. What's that all about? How can you say we're in a post-colonial world, and we need to get away from, and atone for, the colonial history, yet accept a gong from the queen making you a 'Member of the British Empire' or an 'Order of the British Empire'?? Weird!