Belfast Telegraph

Life-long work and sacrifice that earned royal honours


Pastor Jack Mckee: MBE for services to the community in the Shankill and Falls area in Belfast

He has survived death threats and brings divided communities together in his New Life City Church that straddles the peace line in west Belfast.

After growing up in Ballymurphy in a non-religious household, Jack McKee (65) went to Bible school in England before becoming a pastor of two Co Down churches.

Rural life was not for him and he returned to Belfast three years later as pastor in Ballysillan.

He also bought the former Stadium Cinema on the Shankill Road and established several youth clubs and programmes with his wife Kathleen.

The Elim pastor has been shot at by the IRA and had his car blown up by loyalist paramilitaries.

But he refused to give up his church work and 200 people now attend services at his New Life church, with 2,000 to 4,000 more coming to the building each week for help and advice.

Pastor Jack said: "I'm humbled about getting an MBE. I will be receiving it not only as an individual, but also receiving it as testament to the communities that have stuck with me over the years.

"I could have run a million miles from the work many times, but I and the community have stayed put, moving communities forward and saving lives."

Jennifer Ann Marshall: MBE for services to education

She is recognised for her work in the community, particularly early years education. She has been principal of Belmont Nursery School in Londonderry for 24 years. To date, the 61-year-old has spent 38 years of her teaching career in nursery school and two years at primary school. The mother-of-two from Eglinton is also the chair of the North West early education group.

Mrs Marshall said she was thrilled to be receiving the MBE, adding that it is a great honour for both her family and the school.

"I have no idea who nominated me but I'm absolutely delighted," she said.

"My 88-year-old dad William Hunter is really proud of my achievement. Although I am honoured to receive the MBE I put my success down to the fantastic team of people I work with as they have been a huge support to me over the years."

Laura McCartney: MBE for services to disabled people and their families in Northern Ireland.

Laura is the assistant director of employment services at Disability Action.

She has championed disabled people's right to access to work through her career at Disability Action for nearly 30 years, beginning her employment there in 1988.

Initially, Laura provided direct support for people with disabilities in employment, helping them to find jobs, to get reasonable adjustments in work and to progress in work.

She was subsequently employment and training manager across a number of services.

She has been assistant director of employment services for nearly a year, a role which involves managing five projects promoting employment equality for disabled people, in partnership with her team leaders.

Laura said she was "absolutely shocked" to receive the accolade.

"I really do regard it as an honour for people with a disability and for all of the staff that work with me in employment and training," she said.

Robin Cardwell: MBE for services to the RNLI and the community in Northern Ireland.

Retired Portrush Lifeboat operations manager Robin Cardwell has been awarded with an MBE.

Mr Cardwell (70) who stepped down in May after 27 years of service said he was "honoured and humbled" by the acknowledgment.

"I accept this MBE on behalf of Portrush lifeboat station and all the volunteers that are there and connected with the work of saving lives at sea," he said.

"The operations and fundraising teams and of course the volunteer crew are vital to this role in the North Coast and I have been very privileged to be have been both crew and laterally Lifeboat operations manager working with a fine bunch of men and women.

"The medal is dedicated to you all."

He said his first rescue still stood out after nearly three decades of service.

Norman Lynas: OBE for services to the business sector, charity and the community

A 74-year-old who took over his father's shop as a teenager and expanded it to a firm employing around 400 is awarded the OBE.

Coleraine-born Norman Lynas was just 16 when his fishmonger father suffered a heart attack.

Expanding into frozen food in the early 1960s he grew Lynas Foodservice to become the largest independent frozen, chilled and ambient food service company in Northern Ireland.

Using the profits, he set up the Lynas Charitable Trust in 1978 with his wife Lynda which has supported various causes.

"I am very surprised but feel greatly privileged to receive this honour which I feel I don't deserve," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph