A pharmacist, a literacy leader, and the Yorkshire MP to be knighted - New Year's heroes to be honoured by the Queen

Remarkable leaders from Yorkshire who have shaped the nation and driven cultural change are among those to be knighted by the Queen in recognition of their ceaseless service.

Peter Murray, founder of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, is credited with leading its development into a “cultural beacon” for the county and an internationally renowned centre for sculpture.

John Battle, a former Leeds West MP who has served as Pro Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University since 2017, is awarded the Knights Bachelor as a campaigning force for change.

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And Conservative Scarborough and Whitby MP Robert Goodwill is honoured as a “dedicated” public servant who has served on the politics frontline for the past 30 years, and as MP since 2005.

Syima Aslam, co-founder of Bradford Literature Festival

Mr Goodwill, who will now become a Sir, has served as a Whip and Minister of State in four Government departments, and cites roadside drug testing among his greatest political achievements.

This award is a “great honour”, he said, as he thanked campaigners and teams: “I’m absolutely delighted by this recognition. It does make you feel a bit humbled to be in such company.”

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Yorkshire's list in full for all those recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours 20...

In a long list of distinguished names, from OBEs to CBEs and volunteers awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM), there are recognitions for those whose efforts in bettering communities stand out, as foster carers or library workers, forestry champions and mental health advocates.

David Kerfoot

Among them Rotherham Council’s Kim Phillips who, as head of catering and facilities is said to always “lead from the front” and who prepared meals for hungry children in the holidays, is now to be awarded an MBE for public service.

In Shipley, Kim Shutler is awarded an MBE for services to people with mental health issues through her work as chief executive of The Cellar Trust. And in Wetherby Andrew Denton is honoured for his selfless efforts for the NHS, through turning hotel rooms into field hospitals for the first time since the war.

The 47-year-old, as head of hotels for Best Western, offered 16,000 rooms to the NHS to help key workers, and as a place of refuge for the vulnerable at the height of the pandemic.

Community

Kadeena Cox

There are recognitions for community and sporting champions, for services to judo and boxing and music, such as Huddersfield’s Syd Harris, aged 88, as chairman of the Festival of Brass and Voices and charity support.

Wakefield’s Dr Mahendra G Patel, a professor, governor, charity fundraiser, grandfather, and board member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, is awarded an OBE for services to pharmacy.

Born and brought up in Bradford’s Little Horton, and since driven by health inequalities, he is now a national lead on the UK’s most ambitious clinical trial for Covid 19 with Oxford University.

Of the award, he said his gratitude pales in sigificance when braced against the scale of hardships faced by countless thousands, but the recognition has led him to reflect with “inward pride” on the journey along the way.

Honorary Visiting Prof Mahendra Patel, from the University of Bradford, who has been awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours List. Picture credit: University of Bradford.

Pride

Each step, he said, from community pharmacy to education at the Universities of Bradford and Huddersfield, has been a “thread on a web,” filled with luck and the right breaks and with people in “phenomenal” teams, who turn “learning into positivity to help others”.

He said: “If I came back I don’t think I could write the script again. I do feel proud of the journey. There are lots of people out there that do amazing work, we just need to look for them. I’m hugely grateful and thankful to those who put the time, the effort, into nominations. I’m one of the lucky ones to be recognised.”

Loss

An inspirational fundraiser who died in December at the age of 53 is among those to be honoured with an MBE for charitable services.

Mandy Taylor, who was laid to rest on Thursday, died on December 1 after a long battle with cancer. She touched hearts through her fundraising and fearless approach to life, raising more than £2m for good causes and playing a key role in establishing Huddersfield’s Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

A patron of the Piece Hall in Halifax, Ms Taylor was told earlier this year that her condition was terminal. Following the diagnosis, she launched a campaign on social media called #BeMoreMandy, which encouraged people to live their lives to the full. Now, the Cabinet Office has confirmed, her family will receive her award.

The inspiring women behind Bradford Literature Festival have been honoured for efforts in contributing to the city’s economic regeneration and future while championing its rich heritage.

Irna Qureshi is made an MBE for services to heritage while fellow festival co-founder Syima Aslam is made an MBE for services to literature.

Inspiration

The award, said Ms Aslam as she expressed her surprise and gratitude at the recognition, felt a “tremendous accolade” not just for herself but for the festival and the city itself.

She is credited for work in empowering children from disadvantaged backgrounds, breaking down barriers to cultural engagement and driving inclusiveness.

She said such issues were built into the DNA of the festival and were close to her own heart. As a teenager, failing maths at Crossley Heath School, it had taken one teacher called Mr Hogley to reignite her faith. Her ambitions for the festival had always been in creating that “portal” to literacy as a cornerstone for life chances.

She said: “Every child can achieve their potential with the right belief. My mum did that for me, my teacher did that for me.

“If it can feed thoughts and inspire and raise aspirations, I hope we can create change for good.”

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