Suffolk's unsung heroes are recognised

UNSUNG heroes, sporting inspirations, charity workers and a celebrated artist are among the Suffolk people recognised in the New Year Honours list today.

UNSUNG heroes, sporting inspirations, charity workers and a celebrated artist are among the Suffolk people recognised in the New Year Honours list today.

There were nine recipients in the county, led by painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling, who lives near Saxmunham and receives the CBE for services to art.

Also recognised in the list is Eva Loeffler, whose father founded the Paralympic Games.

Mrs Loeffler, 76, from Aldeburgh, has continued his work and has been awarded an OBE for services to disability sport.

She is a former chairman and now vice-president of WheelPower, a charity based at the national centre for disability sport at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Buckinghamshire, which helps people with disabilities achieve their sporting dreams.

Her father Dr Ludwig Guttman founded the modern Paralympic Games at Stoke Mandeville and she is proud to have continued the family's association.

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Mrs Loeffler, who was also one of the first directors on the British Paralympic Association, said: “I'm extremely honoured to have been recognised.

“I have always had an interest in disabled sport. My father founded the Paralympic Games and it was part of my life growing up ever since the age of 12.

“After he died they asked me to join the committee for what was then called the British Paralympic Sports Association and I was very proud to accept.”

Mrs Loeffler, who is married to Frank, a former surgeon at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, said she was excited about the prospect of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

Susan Tamlyn, 75, of Bury St Edmunds, receives an MBE for her outstanding contribution to keeping Suffolk's heritage alive.

The retired school teacher, and former West Suffolk and Bury councillor, has fought countless battles to retain historic structures and areas of significant value for future generations in 40 years of campaigning.

Mrs Tamlyn, a mother-of-three, said she was “thrilled to bits” at the honour, which recognises her work leading campaigns with the Suffolk Preservation Society, Bury Society and, up until last year, as chairman of the Suffolk Buildings Preservation Trust.

For a lifetime of service enabling disabled people to achieve their goals, Linda Hoggarth of Gipping Way, Bramford, receives the MBE.

Mrs Hoggarth, 63, who suffers from a disability herself, is chairman of the Suffolk based Optua organisation, which works with the disabled to encourage them to fulfil their potential.

She has worked for 30 years with Optua, which helps the recognition of what disabled people can do.

“It is a great honour to be awarded in this way for my work - I had no idea whatsoever that I was in anyone's sights for an honour.”

Betty Milburn, 72, from Bury St Edmunds, has been awarded an MBE for services to further education in Suffolk.

Mrs Milburn, chair of West Suffolk College Corporation - formerly known as the Board of Governors -- said she was shocked when she received a letter telling her the news.

“I couldn't believe it, I had to re-read it just to be sure before I told my husband,” she said.

Mrs Milburn, who is in the final year of her two decade service to the college - the last 10 as chairman - said it had been a privilege to see the college grow and become so successful thanks to the staff and fellow governors.

The grandmother-of-four, who moved to Suffolk in the 1960s, said: “We received an outstanding Ofsted in our last report which puts West Suffolk College in the top category. This is such a wonderful way to complete my final year by being receiving this award but it would not have been possible without such a strong team of people at the college.”

Colin Carter, from Woodbridge, has been awarded an MBE for services to the road haulage industry and to charity, while Sue Jay, of West Suffolk Mind, has been awarded the MBE for services to mental health care in Suffolk.

She said: “For mental health to be recognised in this way is not only a great honour for me but will also help to de-stigmatise mental health conditions, after all at any one moment in time a quarter of the population will have some form of mental distress.”

Mrs Jay has been area manager for West Suffolk Mind since 2000 but has worked within West Suffolk Mind for 15 years.

Eric Spicer, from Woodbridge, receives the OBE for services to the telecommunications industry, while Andrew Wood, manager and head coach at the Ipswich Gymnastics Centre, receives an MBE for his services to sport.

The 49-year-old, from Bixley Farm, was overjoyed but shocked at the news, as it emerged that Sport England nominated him for the honour.

In 2004 he won Lottery funding for �500,000 to build an extension to the centre in Braziers Wood Road, and a further Sport England grant for �60,000 was put towards setting up two youth projects, which have proved hugely successful.

One of Mr Wood's highlights has been the announcement that the centre is to be a training centre to host teams competing in the 2012 London Olympics.

Mr Wood said: “I love every part of the job. It is one of the biggest buzzes for me all of the time.

“Sport England is using our project as a benchmark to other projects. Because of all the work we did on it, they decided to nominate me. It is a massive honour.”