More than 30 Kent people honoured in Queen's birthday honours
Church Warden John Marks at St James's Church, Cooling
From college principals to historians... and even an expert in sundials... Kent's finest have been honoured by the Queen today.
More than 30 people from around the county have been given gongs in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
Two Medway men have been recognised for their hard work.
They are MidKent College principal Stephen Grix, who has been awarded an OBE, and John Marks, a caretaker of St James’ Church in Cooling, who has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BME).
Mr Grix has been recognised for services to further education after he took on the mammoth task of closing the college’s Horsted campus, refurbishing the Maidstone campus and moving to the £86m Medway Road site.
He said: “I had a letter that came about five weeks ago and I actually thought it was something from the tax office.
Stephen Grix, principal, outside main entrance at MidKent College
“I was delighted when I found out what it was.
"I had a tough time at school and left at 15 with no formal qualifications, but thanks to further education I was able to build a career that eventually led me to where I am today.”
Mr Grix, who is stepping down from the post at the end of the current academic year, added: "It isn’t an award that is going to me - it is a broader award than that. I wouldn’t have been able to be successful if it hadn’t been for the support of my family and equally MidKent College wouldn’t be a successful institution without its staff.”
John Marks has been honoured for his tireless dedication to looking after St. James Church, Cooling.
For decades, the 82-year-old has opened up the church and spends each day making sure everything is as it should be – tending to the flowers and gathering money from the collection boxes.
John Atkins, awarded in the Queen's honours
Up until six years ago John and his wife Mary would look after the church on their own.
But when she died, a group called the Friends of Cooling Church was established to give John a helping hand.
Speaking about his BEM, Mr Marks said: “I’m very pleased.
“I’m honoured that people in the village feel I deserve an award that for what I have done.
“I have done it for so long because it is part of our heritage and it is to do with Dickens.”
A lifetime spent in education has led to a Smarden man being recognised.
John Atkins, of Vesper Hawk Lane, has been made a Commander of the Order of the
British Empire (CBE) for services to education.
Mr Atkins, 63, has been the chief executive officer of the second largest chain of academies, TKAT (The Kemnal Academies Trust) since 2009.
The group is made up of 14 secondary and 24 primary schools across the south east, including the federated Smarden and Pluckley Primary Schools.
It was founded in 2007 and has expanded from five to 38 schools covering Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Essex.
Mr Atkins began his career as a biology teacher, becoming a deputy head, and was principal at Kemnal Manor Boys School in Sidcup for 20 years before TKAT was formed.
A keen runner, he goes out weekly with the Smarden Runners and has done the London Marathon twice, raising a total of £16,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust.
Mr Atkins is married to Stephanie Bedford, who was head of Angley School in Cranbrook for 13 years until 2006.
Nora Setterfield with her horses and ponies
Broadstairs' Nora Setterfield, 74, – who runs Thanet Disabled Riding Centre– is awarded an MBE for her 37 years of dedicated work.
Run with the help of her family and friends, the centre has been set up to help children and adults who suffer from a number of disabilities through the love of horses and ponies.
After hearing the news Nora said she was “excited but totally embarrassed”, insisting she usually likes to stay in the background and that the honour had come as a complete surprise.
“I think I will have to take my wellies off and go to the palace smelling like a human” - Nora Setterfield
She said: “I think I will have to take my wellies off and go to the palace smelling like a human.”
“It’s quite an honour, I’m very proud of the Queen and I think she does a marvellous job.”
“I feel very privileged I’ve been allowed into these children’s lives because some of them are blind and they put a lot of trust in you to work with them.”
She added the honour would also be a dedication to other members of staff that work at the centre.
“I’m excited the centre has got this far as well, all these people that come and help me are really wonderful people, including my family, the support has been wonderful.”
The Kent honours list in full:
ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE
John Peter Atkins. Chief executive Officer, The Kemnal Academies Trust. For services to Education. (Ashford)
Alban Francis Xavier Green. Chief executive, Leigh Academies Trust, Kent. For services to Education. (Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex)
Dr Ruth Mitchell McKernan. Senior vice president, Pfizer and chief Scientific Officer, Neusentis. For services to Business and Innovation. (Faversham)
Paul Richard Morgan. Regional director, South East and Europe, UK Border Force, Home Office. For services to Border Safety and Security. (Dover)
Adesola Olumide Adetosoye. Formerly Divisional director, Children and Young People's Services, Lambeth Council. For services to Children and Young People. (Bexleyheath)
Mrs Susan Margaret Anderson. Council Member, Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service and Member, Low Pay Commission. For services to Employment Relations. (Chislehurst)
(John) Richard Boulter. Group head, Growth and Livelihoods, Department for International Development. For services to Reconstruction in Afghanistan. (Edenbridge)
Robert James Broadhurst, QPM. Formerly Commander, Metropolitan Police Service. For services to Public Order Policing of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (West Wickham)
Mrs Sarah Jane Dunnett. Chair, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. For services to the National Health Service. (Sevenoaks)
Stephen John Grix. Principal, MidKent College. For services to Further Education. (Higham)
Toby Francis Sargent. Deputy head of News, Department for Culture, Media and Sport. For services to Government Communications. (Hayes)
Michael Patrick Aiken. Chairman, The Mary Rose Trust. For services to National Heritage. (Penshurst)
Mrs Susan Christine Anderson. Chief executive Officer, Sue Anderson Consultants. For services to Education. (Meopham)
David Andrew Brocklehurst. Chairman and Principal director, The Kent Battle of Britain Museum Trust. For services to English Heritage. (Folkestone)
Christopher St John Hume Daniel. For services to the History of Marine Navigation, Timekeeping and Sundials. (Faversham)
Mrs Danielle Charlotte Fenning. Formerly Higher Executive Officer, Ministry of Defence. For services in support of Military Operations. (Beckenham)
Mark Benedict Harrison. Senior Policy Adviser, Civil Society, Cabinet Office. For services to Charity Law. (Sevenoaks)
Ronald Philip Dudley Hunt. Chief Clerk, Government and Opposition Whips Office. For parliamentary and political service. (Ashford)
Michael Ian Larking. Senior Executive Officer, Fire Safety Division, Department for Communities and Local Government. For services to Fire Awareness and Prevention. (Orpington)
Mrs Patricia Lovett. For services to Heritage Craft and Calligraphy. (Sevenoaks, Kent)
Ms Jane Mary O'Brien. Assistant director of Standards and Ethics, General Medical Council, London. For services to Medical Ethics. (Faversham)
Brian Kevin Pearce. Superintendent, Metropolitan Police Service. For services to Operational Planning for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Beckenham)
Mrs Heather Penelope Pegrum. For services to Riding for the Disabled Association through The Diamond Centre in Carshalton. (Sevenoaks)
Dr Bryan John Philp. For services to Archaeology in Kent. (Orpington)
John Vernon Powell. Athletics Coach. For services to Athletics. (Orpington)
Mrs Elizabeth Ann Ridley. Families and Business Support manager, Hillsborough Team, Home Office. For services to the Hillsborough Independent Panel. (Folkestone)
Mrs Nora Emily Setterfield. For services to People with Disabilities through the Thanet Disabled Riding Centre in Kent. (Broadstairs)
Paul Charles Settle. General secretary The Firefighters Memorial Trust. For public and charitable services. (Ashford)
Ms Wendy Penelope Solesbury. For services to the British Red Cross and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. (Cranbrook)
Mrs Linda Denise Jacquelynne Wainwright. Teacher, Slade Green Infants School. For services to Education and Children with Special Educational Needs. (Sidcup)
BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL
Mrs Janice Eileen Chapman. Brownie and Guide Leader, Groombridge Guide Group. For services to Young People in Kent. (Tunbridge Wells)
Mrs Barbara Letchford. Formerly Branch and Regional Representative, National Association of head Teachers, South East Region. For services to Education. (Hythe)
John David Marks. For services to St. James Church, Cooling and to Ecclesiastical Heritage in Kent. (Rochester)
Miss Lynette Gay Sargent. For services to the community in Shipbourne, Kent. (Tonbridge)
Mrs Pauline (Polly) Taylor. Co-Founder, Pickering Cancer Drop-In Centre. For voluntary service to People in Kent Affected by Cancer. (Tunbridge Wells)
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