Former President of Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland, John Minhinick, was among a number of Rotarians who were honoured in the New Year’s Honours List for their services to the community.
John, a member of Burntisland and Kinghorn Rotary Club on Scotland’s Firth of Forth, was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the Parkinson’s Society in Fife.
A Rotarian for over 30 years, John was President of Rotary GB&I between 2012-13. His late wife Sheila had Parkinson’s and lately John has been chairman of the Fife branch.
The Honours List comes out twice a year – once at New Year and a second time for the King’s official birthday in June.
The honours are awarded based on merit or on exceptional achievement or service and have been given out by monarchs since at least 1348, according to the Cabinet Office.
Two Rotarians from the same club were honoured in the list. Luton North Rotarian, Mostaque Koyes, has received an MBE.
A director of Community Interest Luton, he has received his award for services to the community in Luton. CIL has provided food to those experiencing financial difficulties and through the efforts of the charity, there has been a demonstrable impact in reducing unemployment in the town through the LETS Hub project.
Mostaque is an ardent Luton Town supporter, a community ambassador, and at the age of 38 was appointed Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire in 2021.
He wrote on Facebook: “I am deeply humbled to have been included in the New Years Honours List 2024.
“It is always great to hear about the amazing achievements of people from around the United Kingdom when announcements of this kind are made. I am truly humbled to be worthy of inclusion.
“I am thankful to all those closest to me. This includes the very many people who have supported my work, especially those from around Luton’s rich and diverse communities and businesses. I include here my family, as well as my amazing team at Community Interest Luton. My success is theirs too, and I accept this huge honour for all of us.”
Paul Denton, a member of the Luton North Rotary Club, has been awarded an OBE. A Past District Governor, he was awarded the Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Award in 2021.
At Luton North Rotary Club, Paul has been involved with a project to install defibrillators in a number of areas across the District which includes Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, introducing new technology in the cancer unit at the Luton and Dunstable Hospital, providing a Fibroscanner for the Lister Hospital, as well as support for Keech Hospice Care during the pandemic.
During the pandemic, Paul headed projects to provide oxygen equipment for parts of India, raising money quickly from his contacts around the world.
In 2020 Paul led an application for a $1.25 million Rotary Foundation Global Grant for the international charity Mercy Ships to provide medical equipment – the largest grant sanctioned by The Rotary Foundation in its history.
Lesley Hastings, a member of the Rotary Club of Leeds, was awarded a BEM. She spent 15 years working for Childline, holding a directorial role with the children’s charity, The Market Place and an impressive career in education.
“It was astounding, I was very surprised,” she told the Yorkshire Evening Post. “I’ve been dying to tell my family.”
The honour was made for services to the community of Leeds. In a commendation, the Cabinet Office explained: “She has dedicated her working life to educating children in the most deprived areas of Leeds, further the life chances of disadvantaged children through excellent teaching practices, emotional support, and a high focus on child protection and safeguarding.”
The Reverend Chris Colledge, a member of Westbourne Rotary Club in Dorset, was awarded an MBE for services to the community in Bournemouth.
As chairman of Bournemouth in Bloom, Chris is a qualified watchkeeper at the coastguard station at Hengistbury Head, and chair of governors at Queens Park Academy School.
Chris told the Dorset Echo: “Words are insufficient to express the humility and gratitude for receiving the honour.
“This especially means so much as since being unwell with a major mental breakdown in 2002, needing to be medically retired and consequently losing my home and livelihood, it has been a very challenging and hard journey to regain self-worth, respect, and dignity.”
Jim Gillett from Reading Abbey Rotary Club was awarded a BEM for his services to the community in Charvill and neighbouring Reading. Jim organises the Children in Need fund-raising in the Reading area for the BBC’s annual fund-raiser.
Richard Power, from the Rotary Club of Leicester, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s honours list. An orthopaedic surgeon with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, he is also chair of Health Action Leicester in Ethiopia. He was honoured for services to health in Gondar, northern Ethiopia.
In Devon, current President of Ilfracombe Rotary Club, Ann Doody, has been awarded a BEM for her voluntary work. She is proud about her town, and can often be seen on the streets of Ilfracombe weeding pavements and planting up flower tubs.
She has helped with the Ilfracombe in Bloom for years, while also being involved with St Nicholas Chapel. Ann has been a Rotarian since 2005, and was the club’s first female President in 2011.
Robin Varley from Aberystwyth Rotary has been awarded an MBE for his services to cricket in Wales. A former deputy headmaster of Penglais School in the West Wales town, Robin is chair of the Cricket Wales North Area Board.
Speaking to the Cambrian News, he said: “It came as a surprise to say the least.
“My first thought when I received the letter from the Cabinet Office was that my mother would be beside herself. It’s almost like winning the lottery. There are so many people who have done what I have done and not been recognised.
“It’s been hard work, but it is a great honour.”
Also in Wales, and the Rev Roy Watson from Brynmawr Rotary received a BEM for services to the community in Barry and Blaenau Gwent. He had held education roles over the past 30 years and is the current chair of governors for Coed-y-Garn Primary School in Abertillery.
He said: “I’ve always been interested in service in church, and the community, and I think it is my work in the community that has gained recognition.”
And in Barry, South Wales, Howard Provis, a member of the Rotary Club of Barry, has been awarded an MBE for services to the Welsh Blood Transfusion Service, and to the community in Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Elaine Hutchings from the Rotary Club of Lichfield St Chad in the West Midlands has received a BEM for her work in the community during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her ‘Helping Each Other’ group supported the vulnerable and isolated by delivering essential items.
Speaking to Lichfield Live in 2020, Elaine explained: “We started the group due to the panic buying – it was clear that things were spiralling out of control and we needed to do something.
“We had everything from sanitiser, which we distributed to pharmacies and care workers, through to food donated from local catering businesses which allowed the meals to be made so we could hand them out with donation boxes.”
Another pandemic hero, Peter Garwood from the Rotary Club of Furness Peninsula was awarded an OBE for his volunteer work when he was a key figure in the local vaccination drive in Barrow which involved all three Rotary clubs in the Cumbrian town.
He was at the forefront of organising volunteers for vaccinations at the Alfred Barrow Health Centre, when more than 80,000 vaccines were delivered.
“Nobody had a clear idea of what was required of us, however as good Rotarians, instinct and ability soon took over,” recalled Peter in an interview in June 2021.
“We quickly became experts in dealing with the anxious, the stressed, the clinically vulnerable, the needle phobic and lots and lots of people with issues.
“We learnt from our mistakes. We changed things around, we moved furniture, we opened up a new entrance and a new exit, we adapted, but always with a smile and a kind word.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “The New Year’s Honours list recognises the exceptional achievements of people across the country and those who have shown the highest commitment to selflessness and compassion.
“To all honourees, you are the pride of this country and an inspiration to us all.”