Belfast Telegraph

Chef Paula's pride at MBE as 91 people from Northern Ireland are honoured


By Adrian Rutherford and Stewart Robson

Celebrity chef Paula McIntyre heads a list of nearly 100 Northern Ireland people recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The broadcaster and food writer is awarded an MBE for services to the food, drink and hospitality sector.

A total of 91 recipients from here - drawn from a variety of fields including health, industry and government - feature on the list.

Janet McCollum, the former chief executive of food producer Moy Park, is awarded a CBE.

Dr Ian Clements, the chair of the Health and Social Care Board, receives an OBE, as does Brenda Hale, the war widow and former DUP MLA.

The honours also recognise many who have worked tirelessly outside the public spotlight.

The most high-profile recipient is Paula McIntyre.

The resident chef on BBC Radio Ulster has become a listeners' favourite on the Saturday magazine show.

Paula explained how she had kept the news quiet for more than a month.

"Trying not to tell anybody has been the hardest thing to do in my life," she told the Belfast Telegraph. "I've known since the beginning of May.

"I read the envelope and it said that it was from the Cabinet Office. I immediately thought, 'what have I done?'

"When I opened it, I was standing in the front hall and was so shocked, but in a nice way."

Paula revealed she only broke the news to her parents in recent days.

"I told my mum and dad the other night and they just can't believe it," she added. "I'm very proud because it's also an endorsement for the food scene in Northern Ireland."

Three people receive a CBE, including Ms McCollum, who stepped down last month after serving as Moy Park CEO since 2014.

The others are Stan Brown, the chief executive of Forensic Science Northern Ireland, and Brendan McGuigan, the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.

A total of 11 people receive an OBE, including Ms Hale, who served as MLA for Lagan Valley from 2011 to 2017.

Her husband, Captain Mark Hale (42) died in a bomb blast in Afghanistan's Helmand province in August 2009 as he was helping to carry a wounded soldier to safety.

The couple, from Dromara, Co Down had been married for 22 years when he was killed.

"This is something I would have given my world to share with him," Mrs Hale said.

"On the flip side of the coin, it is because of what happened to Mark in Afghanistan that set me on the road to politics and actually led me to receiving this honour."

Mrs Hale has two daughters, Victoria (25), and Alexandra (17).

"They're very proud because obviously they have been on this journey with me," she added.

Other OBE recipients include Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin and David Gosnell, the executive chairman at Old Bushmills Distillery.

Mr Martin said he felt "extremely privileged and honoured".

He added: "I regard this OBE as recognition for the entire Police Service and for all of the officers and staff I have served alongside over the years and for those I have had the honour to lead.

"We have worked hard to serve all communities in Northern Ireland, often during challenging times, to make this a safer place for everyone."

A further 26 people receive an MBE while 46 receive a British Empire Medal.

Among them is the chief executive of the Children's Heartbeat Trust Sarah Quinlan, who is rewarded for services to children and young people with congenital heart disease.

Ms Quinlan said it was a reflection of the collective effort by all those at the trust who support children and families.

George Gray, who served as head of the Legislative Counsel in Northern Ireland, is made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.

Three PSNI officers are handed a Queen's Police Medal while one Queen's Ambulance Medal is awarded.

Dr Ian Clements, OBE

Awarded an OBE for services to healthcare and the community in Newtownards.

Dr Ian Clements is chair of the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) in Northern Ireland. He practised as a GP in Newtownards for 27 years, with a career in health care spanning almost 40.

He has been an active voice in the commissioning processes of the HSCB and wanted to thank his team on the board for all of their efforts.

“I would like to accept this honour on behalf of everyone in the HSCB and across the HSC, primary, secondary and community care, that I have had the pleasure to work with. It is their effort and commitment that has ensured steady and continuing improvement in patient care,” he said.

Valerie Watts,  chief executive of the HSCB, congratulated Dr Clements on his achievement.

“This is a very well deserved honour for Dr Clements who has helped make significant improvements to a wide range of services over the years, enhancing the care and quality of life for many people.”

Judith Totten, MBE

Awarded an MBE for services to economic development in Northern Ireland.

Judith Totten is the managing director of Upstream Working Capital Ltd.

The Holywood-born mother-of-two lives in Bangor with husband David and says it has been “killing her” to keep the news secret for the past six weeks.

Judith (51) began her career at Danske Bank but left to start her own business seven years ago at the height of the banking crisis.

Upstream is the only independently owned finance company in Northern Ireland.

“I have no doubt that when I read the other names on the Birthday Honours list, I’ll look at it and wonder what I did to deserve it. I feel incredibly humbled by it.”

Judith spends her free time on the board of Invest NI and the Prince’s Trust.

She added: “I love every moment of what I do. I have a wonderful team and we are like a small family, and I’m honestly chuffed by the news.”

Sam York, BEM

Awarded a BEM for services to children.

Sam York (76) has helped young witnesses and their families through the courts process since 2010 as a volunteer for the NSPCC.

The Young Witness Service is unique to Northern Ireland. In 2017 alone, 549 children used the service to help them with the often traumatic experience of giving evidence in court.

The father of four, from Ballynahinch in Co Down, said he is ‘over the moon’ at receiving the honour. He first got involved with the Young Witness Service after seeing an advert in his local newspaper.

“When I got the letter it was a bit of a shock,” he said. “To be even thought of to be awarded. It’s unbelievable, I still haven’t come back down to earth.

“It’s really surprising that someone would nominate me. To be recognised is an honour and I’m very proud to get it, and also on behalf of the Young Witness service.”

Hilda Winter, MBE

Awarded an MBE for services to the community in Co Armagh.

Hilda Winter is the custodian of Dan Winter’s house in Loughgall. The house was built in 1703 and is famous for being the place where the Orange Order was formed in 1795 after the Battle of the Diamond.

The 81-year-old has welcomed visitors to the cottage since 1964 and is still taking bookings from far and wide. More than 3,000 people descended on the attraction in 1995 when the Orange Order celebrated its 200th anniversary.

Hilda says it is her dedicated visitors that deserve the praise.

“I’ve been trying to keep it quiet,” she explained. “I’ve been very busy and that’s kept my mind off it. It’s been so good to get it but I don’t see it as anything more than what I love doing. We’ve even had people come from Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

“I love meeting people and telling them the story. It’s been my life since my husband died in 1992 and the support from people has been fantastic. It is they who deserve it.”

Tom Givans, MBE

Awarded an MBE for services to the community.

Tom Givans, a member of Dungannon Rotary Club, said he felt “humbled and very privileged” upon hearing the news that he’d been given the  accolade in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The Co Tyrone  father-of-two added: “I did not expect to get thanks for doing what has always come automatically to me, and that is helping others.”

He is the owner of Dungannon Windows, a successful local company, and has a background in engineering.

He bought the company 30 years ago after spending time in North Africa, where he worked on the Libyan oil rigs.

Hugh Finnegan, president of Dungannon Rotary Club, said he was delighted at the news.

“It is very fitting because Tom has been a massive help in all our projects over the years and has supported all the past presidents in their role,” he said.

Susan Campbell, MBE

Awarded an MBE for services to education.

 Susan Campbell has been the principal at Magherafelt Nursery School for 26 years.

Originally from that town, she started teaching in 1981 at Trinity Nursery School in Bangor, and completed her Masters degree in education.

Mother-of-two Susan now lives in Castledawson with her husband Philip, and was “surprised and excited” when she received the news.

Susan said: “I am delighted to be honoured. I always wanted to teach pre-school and although I have had the opportunity to develop in other roles and in other phases of education, classroom teaching still brings me true satisfaction.”

She has been a long-time advocate for teacher-led education and wants to ensure that all children receive the highest quality pre-school education.

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