Friday, 21 January 2022

Just the jab

Just the jab

THE NHS vaccines chief is among people from the Henley area to be recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Other recipients include three Paralympic rowing champions, the British Paralympics chief, a leading film director, a school sports co-ordinator and the editor of the Henley Standard.

Dr Emily Lawson, lately chief commercial officer of NHS England and NHS improvement, was made a dame for services to the health service, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

A molecular geneticist, she ran the first phase of the NHS vaccine programme, which was the biggest and most successful in health service history, helping to save more than 127,000 lives.

She was then seconded to Downing Street as head of the Prime Minister’s delivery unit.

She returned to the NHS temporarily in October to lead the booster campaign.

Dame Emily, who lives in Henley, said: “I am honoured and delighted to be recognised on behalf of the army of dedicated and hardworking staff and volunteers who have delivered the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in health service history.

“We’ve seen record after record broken over the festive season, including on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so I want to thank every NHS staff member and volunteer whose goodwill and determination to protect their communities has kept the rollout going.

“It has been the greatest privilege to see first-hand the amazing work done at vaccination sites and to speak to so many staff and volunteers, from people who’ve worked for the health service their whole life to new recruits.

“All have gone over and above, day in and day out, particularly in recent weeks, to make sure others are protected. I’m so grateful to all of them and to everyone who has supported the programme.”

Henley Standard editor Simon Bradshaw was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the community during the pandemic.

Mr Bradshaw, 62, of Kidmore Road, Caversham, helped to keep the paper running during the lockdowns.

He said: “Journalists are very good at writing about others but it’s a different matter when we become the subject of a story ourselves.

“Editor Gets Award Shock could have been my headline when I got the news. It was completely unexpected but a real fillip for everyone here in the editorial department who works so hard to bring you your local paper every week, come what may.

“Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop us. And I like to think we did our bit — along with all the countless others — to show our locked-down readers that they were not alone and that there were still plenty of good things in the world.

“I’d especially like to thank the readers who stuck with us when everything we rely on to fill our paper simply stopped. Some of you even helped by contributing your own stories and pictures. Thank you all.” Kevin Nutt, manager of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme at the Eyot Centre in Henley and a primary school sports co-ordinator, was made an MBE for his services to young people.

Mr Nutt, of South View Avenue, Caversham, said: “I feel humbled, proud and pleased.  It’s nice to receive the recognition but it’s just something I enjoy and like to do.

“I’ve done lots of different sports and it’s nice to give something back and to teach the youngsters that they can try different things and have the confidence to do so.” 

Mr Nutt taught physical education at Maiden Erlegh Chiltern Edge School in Reades Lane, Sonning Common, for about 30 years.

He has been managing the DofE course for about 12 years as well as visiting primary schools in the Henley area to run physical education sessions. “It’s good for health, both physical and mentally,” he said. “You can build all your morale up in a PE lesson — it’s the most important lesson in school.

“It’s a pleasure to teach people and I want to thank everyone for their support — my family, friends and pupils past and present. A big thank-you to everyone involved.” 

The chief executive of the Orders of St John Care Trust, which runs the Chilterns Court care centre in York Road, received an OBE for services to the social care sector.

Dan Hayes, from Thame, who joined the trust 19 years ago as a human resources manager before becoming chief executive in 2015, said: “I am absolutely delighted to receive this recognition but also clear that the award would not have been made if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to spend my social care career with the trust.

“It’s my great good fortune to represent literally thousands of colleagues who deserve similar recognition for what they continue to do and who have carried me to the honour.”

The trust is a leading not-for-profit care provider and manages 16 care homes in Oxfordshire.

Becci Jeffries, head of HR and learning and development at Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, received the BEM for her work to transform health and wellbeing services.

She has been with the service for 28 years.

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