New Years Honours List: Five Uttlesford residents awarded

ELSENHAM’S Olympic hero Ben Maher is one of five Uttlesford residents to be recognised by the Queen for their outstanding achievements.

The gold medal-winning showjumper received an MBE for services to equestrianism in the New Year Honours List.

The 29-year-old, pictured second left, rode to glory when Team GB snatched victory from the Netherlands during the summer’s London 2012 Games after a dramatic jump-off.

He said: “I am truly humbled and delighted. It is a fantastic end to an amazing year. To be recognised in this way is wonderful, not only for me but for the sport of show jumping.”

Kathleen CarhaRT and Susan Lydia Freeman received the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Little Dunmow and Thaxted, respectively.

Great-grandmother Mrs Carhart has raised many thousands of pounds for charity over the years. The 90-year-old has been awarded the honour for her tireless work which has helped charities both at home and abroad.

“I was amazed because it is such an honour – I had to read the letter twice to be sure,” she said.

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Over the decades Mrs Carhart has organised fundraisers at her home in aid of good causes. They have included holding soup kitchens, summer fayres and Christmas bazaars.

Her last event raised over �200 for Felsted Aid for Deprived Children – a charity which helps sick children affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Community stalwart Mrs Freeman is a dedicated volunteer who has worked at the heart of her community for more than 30 years devoting her time for the good of Thaxted and its people.

“This is a wonderful way for Sue’s unstinting contribution to the Thaxted community to be recognised and for us all to thank her for the fundraising and organising she does, and has done for over three decades, for so many different charitable organisations in the town,” said Gill Heath, a fellow member of Thaxted Gardening and Craft Show committee.

“It is the particularly wide range of her voluntary and unpaid activities, allied with the length of time over which she has been undertaking them, the impact that her contributions have made in the locality, the generous gift of her precious time to good causes, and perhaps above all her modesty, quiet manner, competence and commitment to the cause that make this award so appropriate for her.”

Meanwhile Little Hallingbury resident Alan Hooker has been awarded the BEM for services to scouting and the community.

The 71-year-old, of Wrights Green Lane, shared the good news with his family on Christmas Day. “It made a lovely surprise but then they were sworn to secrecy,” he said.

Mr Hooker, who moved to the village with his wife Ann and two daughters Sally and Emma in 1974, has been involved with scouting since he was a boy of eight-years-old – leaving the movement for a brief 10 years after his marriage. Although he always had an inclination he would rejoin the scouts.

“You never really leave the scouts, not as far as I’m concerned,” he added.

During his 50 years with the movement, he oversaw the building of the last scout hut in the 1970s and the replacement headquarters in the grounds of Little Hallingbury Primary School, which were officially opened in March 2012.