The head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake, has called upon the people of south west England to nominate their friends, colleagues, relatives or sports and community leaders for an honour. His statement comes alongside reports that only 7.8% of New Year Honours went to people in the South West region this year, down from 9.8% in last year’s Birthday Honours.
But the recent lack of nominations from the south west has not precluded an inspirational teacher, a generous philanthropist and a leading senior executive from making it to the gates of Buckingham Palace.
Pupils and teachers at Writhlington School were among the first to congratulate Simon Pugh-Jones (pictured above on the left), a teacher at the school since 1989, for his MBE for services to education. He is perhaps best known for his development of the school’s Orchid project, which has engaged students in global conservation, research and horticultural excellence for more than twenty years. Students in his care have undertaken expeditions to some of the world’s most remote tropical habitats.
There was also call for celebration after South West Communications Group’s chief executive officer, Tony Rowe, was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to business, sport and charities within Exeter. The CEO is also the chairman and chief executive of Exeter Chiefs. Alongside his professional roles, his work with local charities is also far reaching. The 63-year-old is a keen supporter of the Prince’s Trust, the chairman of the Exeter Foundation – which was set up in 2010 to provide the city and surrounding areas with a ‘civic trust’ – and he is a Trustee of the West of England Fire Heritage Trust.
Among those receiving the higher honours, Andrew Brownsword (pictured above on the right), a philanthropist, was appointed CBE for charitable services to arts heritage and health in Bath and South West England. Andrew, a highly successful businessman and the former owner of Bath rugby club, established The Andrew Brownsword Art Foundation in 1999. The foundation, whose collection includes works by Thomas Gainsborough, is a registered charity, which buys and loans works of art to museums, mostly in the UK.
When considering whether to nominate someone for an honour, look not just at their achievements in the context of others, but at the impact of their life and work, and those deserving recipients will soon stand out – no matter who they are and what they do.
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