Belfast Telegraph

We're honoured, ma'am

Royal gongs for skier, former top cop and DUP man

By Michael McHugh

A visually-impaired skier who won Great Britain's first Winter Paralympic gold has been named in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Kelly Gallagher (29) triumphed in the super giant slalom event at Sochi in March.

The Bangor skier has oculocutaneous albinism, a condition with affects the pigment in her hair, skin and eyes.

She and her guide Charlotte Evans become MBEs for services to sport for people with a visual impairment.

Since linking up, they have won silver and bronze medals in the 2011 and 2013 World Championships, as well as World Cup honours.

Also named on the honours list is retired Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, given a CBE for services to policing and the community in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Gillespie, formerly the PSNI's highest ranking female officer, left after 32 years service with the PSNI and the RUC.

She said: "I see this as recognition for my 32 years, including service in the RUC. I served for a long time in the RUC and that gave me the foundation."

She already holds an OBE and this latest award is also in recognition of her role over the past decade in helping the force shift focus towards the community despite the dissident republican threat.

She has led recruitment campaigns and chaired the World Police and Fire Games 2013 Board, the largest multi-disciplinary sports event ever to come to Northern Ireland. The Games' chief executive John Tully was awarded an MBE.

A total of 95 people from the province were recognised in the honours list, fairly evenly split between women and men. Half the list involved people working in the community, the economy, and the education and health sectors.

Among those honoured were Jenny Bristow, the chef and broadcaster from Ballymena in Co Antrim, for services to broadcasting and the food industry.

She hosted a World Nutrition Conference Masterclass in Belfast in 2012 and has supported charities for the elderly and those with cancer. Businessman Howard Hastings, managing director of Hastings Hotels Group, which includes the Europa, was recognised for services to tourism and hospitality.

He spearheaded the NI2012 Our Time Our Place campaign, which promoted Northern Ireland abroad, and has played important roles in the NI Tourist Board.

Also recognised was Bill Wolsey, who owns the luxury Merchant Hotel in Belfast and whose Beannchor Ltd group runs 50 hotels and pubs and employs 600 people.

DUP councillor Sammy Brush, from Co Tyrone, received an MBE for services to the community in the county.

Mr Brush was shot in an IRA gun attack in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone, in 1981, and has supported victims and survivors of terrorism.

He said: "I am shocked but delighted to have been awarded the MBE.

"Whilst I have served the community for many years, whether that was delivering post, within the Ulster Defence Regiment or more recently as a district councillor, I never anticipated that I would be given an honour of this nature."

 

Judith Gillespie, former PSNI deputy chief constable

Judith Gillespie was the highest-ranking female member of the PSNI. She stepped down in March after more than three decades with the force.

The mother-of-two was awarded an OBE in 2009. Appointed the first female assistant chief constable in the PSNI in 2004, she was then appointed deputy chief constable in June 2009. She was due a £500k pay out if she retired in 2011 but said policing is about “far more than the financial rewards”.

Kelly Gallagher, paralympian

Bangor skier Kelly Gallagher won Britain’s first ever Winter Paralympic Gold medal this year. The visually-impaired 28-year-old took gold at the Winter Games in the Super-G in Sochi.

Ms Gallagher has a condition which affects the pigment in her hair, skin and eyes. Along with her guide Charlotte Evans they have won silver and bronze medals in the 2011 and 2013 World Championships and World Cup honours. They communicate on the slopes via bluetooth headsets as they travel at speeds of up to 100km/h.

Jenny Bristow, chef

She is one of Ireland’s most celebrated television cooks, good food ambassadors and cookery writers.

Jenny Bristow lives near Cullybackey in Co Antrim which is also the location for her TV cookery series.

Her numerous cookery programmes have been broadcast around the world.

The much-loved chef is also the bestselling author of 12 cookery books and has been named the Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author. She writes regular columns for newspapers and magazines.

Sammy Brush, DUP councillor

Off-duty UDR soldier Sammy Brush was shot and injured as he was doing his rounds as a postman in June 1981 in Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone. First Minister Peter Robinson said Mr Brush was “not just a victim, he is a hero”.

Ex-IRA man Gerry McGeough was convicted of attempted murder in 2011 but was released. Mr Brush, now a DUP councillor, said his home was damaged so many times it was almost part of “normal life”. The Assembly passed a motion of support for him.

 

 

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