New year - new honours

SERVICES to sport, the wine industry and local government are among the achievements recognised across Suffolk in the New Year's Honours List today.Recipients spoke of their surprise and delight at receiving the awards, which are officially announced today.

SERVICES to sport, the wine industry and local government are among the achievements recognised across Suffolk in the New Year's Honours List today.

Recipients spoke of their surprise and delight at receiving the awards, which are officially announced today.

James Hehir, chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council for more than 15 years, receives an OBE for services to local government.

Mr Hehir, who lives on the Shotley peninsular, is a key figure in the drive to bring a university to Suffolk.


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He took over as head of the council's administration and staff in 1989 after a career which had seen him working for authorities in Leeds, Colchester and Dartford.

Mr Hehir, who is married with three children, is a football fanatic and was instrumental in the bid to attract the England team to Portman Road last year for their friendly international against Croatia. While at Colchester, he was a player, manager and secretary of Dedham Football Club, in the village where he lived.

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In the past few years, Mr Hehir has been an enthusiastic supporter of the campaign to build a university for Suffolk on a site in Ipswich, a project which is dependent on a funding announcement due in 2005.

Mr Hehir said: "I was very surprised to receive the award, which I would like to share with my colleagues, councillors, the people of Ipswich and my family."

David Cordon, of Woolpit, near Bury St Edmunds, receives the MBE for services to his beloved home village.

Mr Cordon, who has helped establish groups and clubs within his community since moving to the area 25 years ago, said: "I was very shocked to hear the news, as it was a big surprise and I had absolutely no idea."

Mr Cordon established the renowned Woolpit Festival 18 years ago, propelling it to region-wide significance before resigning as director in 2002.

He also helped form a drama club and conservation group, while playing an instrumental part in securing £418,000 for improvements to the village hall.

Mr Cordon added: "Woolpit is the most wonderful community you could ever live in. It is very supportive, very strong and very vibrant. I can't actually think of another village like it."

Ray Carter, who lives at Hoxne, near Eye, gets an OBE for services to sport.

Mr Carter, 74, has been involved in county and national schools football for 50 years and is a former chairman of the English Schools Football Association.

He is currently chairman of the games and sports division of the Central Council for Physical recreation and previously spent eight years with Sport England on the panel which decided best use of National Lottery grants.

Timothy Melville-Ross, chairman of Investors in People UK, receives a CBE in recognition of his services to workplace learning and development.

Mr Melville-Ross, who lives in Bures, near Sudbury, began his career working with British Petroleum before joining stockbrokers Rowe, Swan and Company.

Former Suffolk wine producer Ian Berwick, of Bruisyard, near Framlingham, is honoured with an MBE for his services to the wine industry.

He and wife, Eleanor, established and ran a vineyard at Bruisyard for 30 years before finally hanging up their secaturs a couple of years ago. They produced prize-winning wines able to hold their own against stiff continental competition.

After his retirement in 2002, Mr Berwick wanted to retain links with the small, close-knit band of English wine producers, and continued in his role as general secretary of the UK Vineyards Association, a post he had then held for six years. Before that, he was its chairman.

As well as growing grapes and producing wine at the vineyard, the couple established a shop, a restaurant and a herb garden at the site.

Peter Franzen, editor of the Evening Star's sister paper in Norfolk, the Eastern Daily Press, receives the OBE for services to journalism.

What do you think of the Honours system? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

See tomorrow's Star for a profile of 'Mr Ipswich' James Hehir OBE.

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