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Norfolk heroes recognised in Queen’s New Year’s Honours list

PUBLISHED: 22:30 30 December 2016 | UPDATED: 22:42 30 December 2016

Caroline Williams Norfolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive.  Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Caroline Williams Norfolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A community stalwart, business leader and harbour master are among those featured in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Heather Edwards leading the Alzheimers singing session at Leyham Court in Bowthorpe
Photo: Bill Smith
Copy: Paul Durrant
For: Archant
Archant © 2010
01603 772434 Heather Edwards leading the Alzheimers singing session at Leyham Court in Bowthorpe Photo: Bill Smith Copy: Paul Durrant For: Archant Archant © 2010 01603 772434

More than 13 people from across the county have today been honoured for their tireless efforts in supporting the community.

Included in this year’s list is a Norwich piano teacher whose work with music has helped countless people living with dementia.

Sixty-three-year-old Heather Edwards, from The Avenues, was key to the foundation of the Come Singing groups for people living with the condition.

She was also behind the launch of Music Mirrors, which uses sounds to help keep people’s memories alive.

Michael Fillenham has been awarded the British Empire Medal. Picture: Ian Burt Michael Fillenham has been awarded the British Empire Medal. Picture: Ian Burt

Mrs Edwards first realised the power of memory and music when it helped her to communicate with her own father, Stanley Kilburn, who had stopped speaking after suffering from a stroke.

She said was accepting the British Empire Medal in memory of her father, who died about nine years ago aged 84, and on behalf of all the Come Singing volunteers.

She said: “I feel that I am getting the British Empire Medal on behalf of the whole group of volunteers, on behalf of all of us that want to do practical things to help people living with dementia. We are interested in doing practical things to help people live as best they can.”

She also paid tribute to the “amazing courage” of people living with dementia and the people who care for them.

Cutter commander Shaun Edwards, who has been made an MBE. Picture: Shaun Edwards Cutter commander Shaun Edwards, who has been made an MBE. Picture: Shaun Edwards

Mrs Edwards said the idea for Music Mirrors began when she was reading aloud to her mother, Doreen Kilburn, from a notebook in which her father had written down stories from his early life, and it sparked a reaction from her father.

“I think what it was, he was hearing his words read back to him. It was reawakening memories and the idea [for Music Mirrors] came from that really.”

She added: “Since then I’ve got to know many monumental people living with dementia or touched by it. We can’t ignore the fact that the incidence of dementia is growing but we can do practical things to equip others and ourselves to live with it.”

Mrs Edwards said when she goes to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party for recipients of the British Empire Medal she hopes to take Linda Sargent, one of the carers who looked after her father in Woodside House care home in Norwich.

Also featured in the list is Department for Work and Pensions employee Mary Scales, from Dereham.

The 59-year-old, who is based in Norwich Jobcentre Plus, has worked for the department for 19 years, and helps ex-offenders back into employment.

She has been made an MBE.

MBE for chamber chief

The chief executive of Norfolk’s chamber of commerce for almost 17 years has been made a Member of the British Empire.

Mother-of-two Caroline Williams, who lives in Salhouse, said she was “thrilled and humbled” to receive the accolade.

The 64-year-old joined the chamber in 2000, having previously worked as an international buyer and an account manager in Dereham.

At that time, she said the organisation had been “limping along” and was in a poor state financially.

But over the following years, Mrs Williams, assisted by fellow members, transformed the chamber into a strong and sustainable position.

“I think one of the biggest achievements is that Norfolk’s business community is now visible in Westminster,” she said.

“It understands that it can make a difference, and the chamber has worked as a good facilitator between the Government and the business community.”

The title is a among a string of accolades Mrs William has picked up this year.

As well as becoming a qualified yoga teacher, she also received the EDP Outstanding Business Award.

She will be stepping down from her role in April to focus on training business leaders across the county.

Retired education officer awarded a BEM

Retired education officer Michael Fillenham, 70, from Dereham, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).

In 1990, he founded the Western Area Clerks Association (WACA), after becoming clerk to the governors at king Edward VII High School, in King’s Lynn - where he had been a pupil as a boy.

It aimed to give the clerks of school governing bodies a forum where they could share best practice and access support and training.

“Everything was towards Norwich,” he said. “We seemed like the poor cousins in the west of the county in King’s Lynn going up to the borders of Cambridgeshire.

“I thought I’d sound out other clerks, see what they thought about it and the association was born.”

Elected chair at the first meeting, he has remained in the post for 26 years during which time he has overseen support given to hundreds of clerks.

“The role o governing bodies has changed over the years and the role of the clerk has become mor important,” he said.

WACA brings together clerks from maintained schools and academies, encouraging collaboration and shared experience.

Mr Finnerton, who lives in Vicarage Meadows, Dereham, with his wife, the Rev Canon Sally Theakston, still works as clerk and trustee for the King Edward VII school foundation charity.

He also volunteers one day at week at Greyfriars Primary School, in King’s Lynn, which he also attended.

Of receiving the honour, he said: “I was completely astonished, I really didn’t expect anything like that at all. There must be thousands of people in Norfolk who do voluntary work and don’t expect any reward.”

Services to humanitarian services see Fakenham man made an MBE

A senior officer in the UK Border Force’s Maritime Command has been made an MBE for services to law enforcement and humanitarian services in the Mediterranean.

Cutter commander Shaun Edwards, from Fakenham, said he was “humbled” to receive the honour.

“I regard it as an award for all those that work in the cutter service doing a difficult job in arduous conditions,” he said.

“It has been a pleasure and privilege to have them as colleagues and friends. I would also like to thank my family and friends for their support and understanding during my years of service.”

Cutters normally patrol UK waters and searchn vessels suspected of smuggling or carrying illegal immigrants.

Between May and October 2015 two of the five-strong fleet, HMC Protector and HMC Seeker, were sent to the Mediterranean to carry out search and rescue operations at the height of the refugee crisis.

Other people honoured in this year’s list include:

Royal Victorian Order

•David James Benefer, plant shop manager and flower arranger at the Sandringham Estate.

Royal Victorian Medal

• Stephen Birrell. Bricklayer at the Sandringham Estate.

Order of the British Empire

• Richard Lionel Guy, from Downham Market - For services to Justice, mental health support and the community in Cambridgeshire.

• Michael Douglas Carr, from Bury St Edmunds, former board member at Innovate UK and non-executive director at ordnance survey - For services to Innovation.

• Caroline Miller, from Bury St Edmunds, former director at One Dance UK - For services to the arts.

Member of the Order of the British Empire

• Nigel George Bumphrey - For services to the church in Norfolk.

• Special chief inspector Raymound William Lumley, from Norwich - for services to policing.

• Mike Smith-Clare, from Great Yarmouth - For services to the education of vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Norfolk through the Blue Cat Initiative.

British Empire Medal

• Patrick John Stafford Allen, from Holt - For services to the community in Langham.

•Neville Pettitt, from Bury St Edmunds, chairman of West Suffolk Wheelers - For services to cycling and youth participation in cycling.

Do you know of someone who deserves to be recognised for their volunteering?

Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684

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