New Year Honours – the Lib Dem edit

Chris Whitty and Emma Raducanu were dead certs for the New Year Honours list published today. But what about all those people working for their local communities, most of whom were nominated by the people they serve, and some of whom are certainly Lib Dems (because that’s what Lib Dems do)?

Here is the chance to tell us about any members who have been given an honour this time round. Use the comments below to explain why they have been honoured and we will add them to the main post.

Isabelle Parasram

Congratulations to former Vice President of the Lib Dems, Isabelle Parasram, on being awarded an OBE for public and political service. Isabelle is a barrister, currently working as the CEO of Social Value UK, a national network for those interested in social value and social impact.

Ed Davey said:

We are absolutely delighted to hear that Isabelle has received this award, which is richly deserved for her distinguished and tireless service within politics and indeed beyond.

Her enduring legacy within the Liberal Democrats is reflected in her work on democratic engagement, diversity and social justice, which is greatly respected by the party and something we continue to aspire towards.

Matthew Clark

And many congratulations also go to Matthew Clark, former Chief of Staff to the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament, and former councillor, who has been awarded an MBE for services to politics.

Caron Lindsay wrote a post here on Lib Dem Voice last June: “End of an era as Matthew Clark leaves Holyrood”, in which she quotes Scottish Party Convener Sheila Ritchie:

Matthew is my friend. He has a brain the size of a planet and has been the repository of the party’s institutional knowledge for decades.

He is kind, and firm, and he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. Being a fool, and certainly not in his intellectual league, there have been occasions when he has not suffered me.

But he has always been there for me, as Convenor, as candidate, as MEP, and for anyone in the Party who needed him.

We owe him a huge debt, which we probably can never repay.

Alun Jenkins

Alun Jenkins has been awarded the BEM for political and public service after serving as a councillor – without interruption – for over 50 years! Many congratulations on an amazing achievement!

Back in July 2020 we carried a tribute to him from Lord Martin Thomas, in which he wrote:

Alun is a hugely effective local politician. In 1970, just as we were getting over the General Election, one of Wrexham’s Councillors was elevated to Alderman, creating a vacancy in the Offa Ward. The resulting by-election was held on July 16th. Alun won and there started his 50 years as Councillor, continuously representing the Offa ward, initially on Wrexham Borough Council until it was subsumed into Wrexham Maelor Council.

Alun who is in good health, promises to continue to be a fully participating member of the County Borough Council. I can only express my personal thanks for all that he did for me so many elections ago and recall happy memories of the buzz in his home office with Sue working at his side for the people of Offa ward.

Jane Roberts

Jane Roberts is a Lib Dem town councillor and recent Mayor in Ross on Wye. Her BEM honour recognises her services to the community as a volunteer and chair of the Ross-on-Wye Community Development Trust, particularly during Covid-19. Congratulations!

In a report on the Trust’s website Jane says:

Whilst I am delighted to be recognised in this year’s Honours List, I am accepting this on behalf of the Ross CDT and the incredible volunteer network that has enabled the charity to grow from strength to strength. I must emphasise that the achievements should be attributed to a whole-town effort as well as the relentless work of several local volunteer groups. Without our strong network of volunteers, the Ross CDT would not have been in a position to achieve what it has done to date and I am so humbled by the efforts of the many wonderful supporters we have in and around Ross-on-Wye.

Jo Conchie

Congratulations to another member who is honoured for services to the community during Covid-19. Jo Conchie receives the BEM for organising a delivery and visiting service, bringing food and other life essentials to isolated people across her home town of Winsford.

Her initiatives were first recognised in 2020; at the time she said:

I felt that vulnerable people would not have anyone to turn to. There is no way I would have been able to do this without all our volunteers. It’s been a team effort.

I never thought it would erupt to the size it has. It just kind of exploded. We’ve helped hundreds of people.

Jo also found time to campaign as our PCC candidate for Cheshire last May, and as PPC in the Batley and Spen by-election in July (although sadly she had to drop out for health reasons).

Izzy Knowles

Izzy has also been recognised with a BEM for helping people during Covid-19, in her case in Moseley, Birmingham. As a former police officer she knows the area well and during the last two years she has been building teams to help keep our streets clean, helping the homeless, organising the annual Christmas Lights and working with St Johns Ambulance on vaccinating people to protect them during the pandemic.

Izzy Knowles is also our PPC in Birmingham Hall Green.

John Hunt, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Birmingham City Council, said:

This is a very well–deserved award, which rightly highlights the amazing work Izzy has long done for our community. Izzy is incredibly popular because she is recognised as wanting to help the community, and actually getting stuff done.

Izzy’s approach of being local, visible, and hands on has served Moseley and the surrounding areas incredibly well, especially during these constrained, worrying times. People reach out to Izzy if they need help, as they know they’ll get the support they need.

 

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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