Queen's Jubilee Honours for community champions

Jan Menell who has been awarded a BEM for services to the Uttlesford community

Jan Menell has been awarded a BEM for services to the community in Uttlesford - Credit: Deb Liddington

Community champions have been recognised through HM The Queen's Jubilee Birthday Honours List.

Jan Menell, Annie Roberts, Angela Khalil, Roger Pickett and Leon Dias will receive British Empire Medals.

Jan Menell who has been awarded a BEM for services to the Uttlesford community

Jan Menell has been awarded a BEM for services to the community in Uttlesford - Credit: Deb Liddington

Jan Menell has been awarded the BEM for services to the community in Uttlesford. 

Jan said: "It was obviously a surprise! I heard six weeks ago and had to keep absolutely quiet and not say a word."

She added: "It was a surprise, but a nice surprise."

Villagers presented Jan with flowers at the Jubilee party when they heard her good news.

Jan, a community midwife for nearly 50 years, established Buffy Playbus in 1994 and the BuffyBus outreach service has helped more than 90,000 children and carers.

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Jan served as a district councillor on Uttlesford District Council from 1974 to 2015 when her seat disappeared following boundary changes, and has been on Littlebury Parish Council for over 50 years.

She is also a trustee of Littlebury United Charities and the Jane Bradbury Education Foundation.

Annie Roberts has been awarded a BEM for charitable services to the Uttlesford community.

Central to the Little Chesterford community, she has served on the parish council and village hall committee since 1993, and has a central role in community events and charitable fundraising.

"It did take me by surprise," Annie said.

"I never had any idea at all when the letter arrived.

"It was lovely, a lovely surprise. I'm delighted."

Annie started doing things for her community back in the early 1980’s by starting up and running a holiday club for children in the village.

She then went on to start up a drama group and put on several plays and revues and lots of pantomimes which were always well attended.

Having been raised on the farm, she returned to Little Chesterford in 1993 following the death of her father and started to foster children in care from Essex.

Annie started an Art Group in the village which still flourishes. She was chairman of the village hall and with others in the village renovated and expanded the hall with the aid of Lottery funds.

Annie has raised substantial sums for the church and hall with countless jumble sales and has been involved in several fundraising auctions including for Help for Heroes, Macmillan and lately a silent auction for Ukraine.


Angela Khalil who has been awarded a BEM, of Essex branch of British Red Cross

Angela Khalil has been awarded a BEM for voluntary service. Her extensive work with the Essex branch of the British Red Cross has spanned many years - Credit: submitted

Angela Khalil has received a BEM for voluntary service.

Her work for the British Red Cross spans back to the 1970s, and she has held the positions of Patron and lately President of the Essex branch.

She said of the honour: "I had a letter from the Cabinet Office, telling me of this. It was surprising, overwhelming."

Angela was instrumental in organising and leading the British Red Cross Emergency Response team at Stansted Airport, supporting the arrival of refugees during the Balkan war, Lebanese crisis, Sierra Leone evacuation as well other emergencies, including the Afghan hijacking in 2000. Working with the council, reception centres and temporary accommodation were provided to assist.

Angela was chair of Manuden Parish Council before she moved to Bishop's Stortford.

She started as a committed fundraising bucket collector and was Chair of the Uttlesford Centre Fundraising Committee.

She took on a lead role in the organising of the annual Essex Autumn Gift Fair, an event that has raised over £300,000 over 25 years.

Roger Pickett, who founded Essex Fire Museum at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has been awarded a BEM for services to the community.

He established the Fire Brigade Museum in 2006. Though he retired as Museum Curator in 2021, he continues as a volunteer.

Through Roger's efforts, visitor numbers have grown 640% between 2007 and 2021, the museum has become an integral part of the community fire safety programme and he has managed 37 fire service funerals.

Special Superintendent Leon Dias of Essex Police awarded a BEM

Special Superintendent Leon Dias of Essex Police has been awarded a BEM for his voluntary work - Credit: Essex Police

Special Superintendent Leon Dias has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Essex Police and the Special Constabulary.

Leon has spent more than half his life as a Special helping Essex Police across the county. 

Heidi Thomas, who wrote BBC TV drama Call the Midwife, has received an OBE for her services to drama.

Heidi formerly lived in Saffron Walden and is now in Royston.

She also wrote Cranford, which won a Royal Television Award, and the screenplay for the film adaptation of Alan Bennett's novel Allelujah!

Sir Quentin Blake will receive a Companion of Honour for services to illustration.

Quentin created two new colouring sheets to help children through their Covid vaccines at Cambridgeshire and Norfolk NHS Trusts.

Both original drawings have been offered to the East Anglian Air Ambulance service to help raise funds.

Pascal Soriot receives a Knights Batchelor award for AstraZeneca’s (AZ) response to Covid-19.

He offered to build a national testing centre in Cambridge which was set up in under eight weeks, processed over 3 million samples in a year and supported staff testing at NHS Addenbrooke’s Hospital.