Belfast Telegraph

North Belfast trio in New Year’s Honours

by Chris McCann

Three people from north Belfast will be among those honoured by the Queen in the New Year’s Honours list.

A policewoman, a community relations worker, and a cancer charity founder will make the trip to London to be celebrated for their work in their respective areas.

Bernadette Montgomery from the Old Park Road is the founder of the Cancer Lifeline charity in the north of the city.

The 49-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, when medical experts feared she might die. But in her recovery, she set up the charity to help cancer patients throughout north Belfast — one that is used by both communities.

She said of being awarded an MBE: “I am so shocked, as I didn’t know anything about this.

“I’m humbled to be honest, as it’s a great honour for Cancer Lifeline, a voluntary organisation where people with cancer support other people with cancer.

“I just feel honoured for everyone involved with the charity.

“When I was diagnosed, basically I wanted to talk to someone, but found there wasn’t much out there, so I started up this group.

“But this is about this group, and the people who give so much time and energy, while sick themselves, to other people with cancer.”

Meanwhile, PSNI detective constable Linda Baird has been a police officer for over 28 years in north Belfast and is awarded the Queen's Police Medal for services to the prevention and detection of serious crime.

During this time, detective constable Baird risked personal safety — a hazard she was willing to face as she as she served the community.

She is renowned within the organisation for being a dedicated, industrious and highly professional police officer.

Detective constable Baird’s determined efforts have saved many lives.

Katy Radford is to be awarded an MBE for services to community relations.

The Antrim Road woman is heavily involved in inter-community work, race relations, victims’, survivors’ and prisoners’ groups.

She is also on the executive of the Belfast Jewish Community group.

Katy said making the New Year’s Honours list was a “huge surprise”.

“It’s just lovely when people say thank you. If anyone from any country offered me something like this, I’d be delighted to accept it,” she said.

“It will be an honour to accept it on behalf of the other people I have worked with.

“The focus for me is thinking about how far we have come in community relations in north Belfast.

“I haven’t thought too much about London. My head’s in north Belfast. That’s where I get up each morning and smile when I see the hill.”

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