Suffolk: Community champions honoured on Queen’s birthday list
10:15 14 June 2014
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2013
Suffolk fundraisers, campaigners and community champions recognised for their tireless contributions in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours list.
Not only do they have in common a generosity of spirit, but they all share a willingness to put others before themselves.
Among those accepting honours, a volunteer of 44 years for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, a founding member of a charity born in Suffolk 15 years ago and now close to having raised £1million in the fight against breast cancer, and a police dog handler whose idea of a ‘one-off’ charity cycle became a hugely successful annual cross-country ride.
Today we recognise Suffolk’s newest titleholders for their public service - making a difference for our community and beyond.
MBE recipients include Pc Neil Smith, whose fundraising concept Bobby on a Bike has led to more than £120,000 in charitable donations.
The 48-year-old from Woodbridge came up with the idea of a one-off charity bike ride in 2000. Originally it was planned for two people to cycle across the United States.
However, due to time constraints they ended up riding from Canada to Mexico.
For the last seven years, Bobby on a Bike has been a four-day May ride from Aldeburgh to Aberystwyth with between 50 and 60 people taking part.
Each year a different charity has been chosen to benefit from the fundraising.
Mr Smith said: “I was completely overwhelmed when I found out. It’s just incredible and humbling that somebody took the time to nominate me.”
Suffolk Breakthrough Breast Cancer was formally established in Woodbridge in 2010. It has raised a total of £960,000 towards research and education, and now has groups in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Stoke-by-Nayland.
The group was led by Sally Balch, who was diagnosed with the illness in 1998 and died in 2004.
Her friend, founder member and fundraiser, Ollie Hatcher, has been honoured for her contribution with the British Empire Medal.
She said: “It’s a huge commitment for the volunteers who give their spare time, unpaid, to fundraise.
“This year, we were number one in the country for fundraising. If we can hit a million it will be a fantastic tribute to Sally and all those who have been diagnosed over the years. But you don’t raise a million without lots of local people and firms digging deep. We are just the catalyst for the fundraising.”
For 45 years Sandra Waspe, from Stowmarket, has worked tirelessly and raised tens of thousands for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Since the age of 16, she has endeavoured to raise the charity’s profile and even set up a new branch in the town in 2009.
The 61-year-old, who is honoured with a British Empire Medal, said: “I never expected this, I think it’s moving that somebody would think to nominate me. It’s an award I would not be getting if it were not for the generosity of the public and the people who I have worked alongside.
“When we got our first guide dog 10 years ago, I said I ought to give more back.”
While serving on the Bury St Edmunds’ branch committee, Ms Waspe and her husband Graham, who is blind, decided to become “guide dog speakers” – a role which promotes the charity.
Eddy Alcock, 76, from Debenham, has received an OBE for public and voluntary service.
The former Suffolk County Council chairman has worked for decades supporting community groups including the village’s youth club and the Rotary Club of High Suffolk.
He said: “I don’t believe that anybody who chooses to give any sort of service to the community has any expectation of receiving any form of recognition. I feel greatly honoured therefore to be a recipient of this award and very grateful to those who have considered me to be worthy of it.”
He was a retained firefighter for 10 years, becoming president of the Retained Firefighters’ Union in 1981.
Helping at Debenham’s leisure centre he contributed to raising £1.25million for new and improvements to facilities.
Anne Marguerite Chapman, 72, is awarded for organising of the annual ladies’ pink tractor run, now in it’s 11th year.
She has raised more than £335,000 for Cancer Research UK through the event on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, and receives the British Empire Medal.
The tractor run has grown from raising £16,500 from 50 participants in its first year, to recruiting 130 ladies and raising in excess of £48,000 in 2012.
In 2011, Mrs Chapman, from Diss, was listed among the top 100 people in the Independent’s list of ‘People who make the World a Happier Place’. A year later, she carried the Olympic Torch in Aldeburgh.
However Mrs Chapman said she wouldn’t be doing much to celebrate, as she was continuing planning for this year’s tractor run, which is on July 6.
She said: “There are so many ladies who have sadly succumbed to this horrible disease.
“It’s not all about me. It’s about the ladies who do the fundraising, people who lend their tractors. It’s a team effort.”
Samuel Gurney Sheppard. For services to the Horse Breeding Industry and the Rural Economy (Haverhill)
Edward George Noel Alcock. For public and voluntary service in Suffolk (Stowmarket,)
John Barton. General secretary Retained Firefighters Union. For services to Fire and Rescue Services (Newmarket)
Ms Elizabeth Baskerville. Regional chairman Conservative Party. For voluntary political service (Great Barton)
John William Keeble. For services to the community in Theberton and Eastbridge and to the Environment and Heritage of East Anglia (Leiston)
David Michael Smith. Board Member Robust Details Ltd and president, Consortium of European Building Control. For services to Building Control and voluntary service in Suffolk (Ipswich)
Neil Clifford Smith. For charitable services (Woodbridge)
Mrs Joanna Grizelda Spicer, DL. For public service to the community in Suffolk (Bury St Edmunds)
BRITISH EMPIRE MEDAL
Mrs Hilary Olwyn Ann Hatcher. Founder Member and Fundraiser, Suffolk Breakthrough Breast Cancer. For services to Breast Cancer Research and Education (Woodbridge)
Ian Langdon. For services to the community in Grundisburgh (Woodbridge)
Ms Sandra Margaret Waspe. For services to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in East Anglia (Stowmarket)