New Year Honours: Devon community workers recognised

Denise Fitzpatrick
Image caption Denise Fitzpatrick set up a support group for disabled children three years ago

People involved in communities and the arts are among 19 recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours list for work in Devon.

Denise Fitzpatrick, from Plymouth, has become an MBE after setting up a support group for disabled children.

Plymouth parent's guide author Geraldine Lane has been appointed MBE for services to families.

And the Reverend Sam Philpott, also from Plymouth, has become an MBE for services to the community.

'Still keep going'

The Rev Philpott, 70, parish priest of St Peter and the Holy Apostles Church in Plymouth, said he was "surprised, but thrilled" at the award.

He said it was people he had worked with who had earned the award, not him; including probation officers, as well as social and children's workers.

The Rev Philpott, who has been at St Peter's for 34 years, added that he planned to "still keep going".

He said: "I've never thought the job was just about teaching people to pray, not when there are people who are hungry and homeless."

Geraldine Lane, whose Parent's Guide to Plymouth was first published 28 years ago, said she had to read the letter three times before she believed it because she thought it was a joke.

The guide is still proving popular, and an accompanying website launched 10 years ago has recently been redesigned and relaunched, she said.

Denise Fitzpatrick has been honoured for services to disabled children in Plymouth after helping set up her support group three years ago.

The group also helps youngsters from Tavistock, Exeter, and Saltash in Cornwall.

She said that when she received the notification she thought officials had "made a mistake".

She said: "Doing what I do is satisfaction itself, but this official recognition does feel wonderful."

Other recipients

Further awards in the county include Malcolm Wharton, from Axminster and principal of Hartpury College in Gloucestershire, becoming a CBE for services to further education.

Five other people have been appointed OBEs:

  • David Allen, from Newton Abbot and deputy chief executive of the University of Exeter, for services to higher education
  • Jon Gifford, from Totnes and president of the National Coastwatch Institute, for services to maritime safety
  • Devon County Council road safety manager Peter Gimber for services to local government
  • Dr Richard Graham, from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • John Lee, from Crediton, for services to the rural economy
  • National Coastwatch Institute president Jon Gifford, from Totnes, has been appointed OBE for services to maritime safety.

Ten other people have become MBEs:

  • Edna Carleton, from Ivybridge, for services to the communities in Lutton and Cornwood
  • Wing Cdr David John Chivers, from Tiverton, for voluntary service to the Air Training Corps and the community in Devon and Somerset
  • William Crispin - from Kingsbridge and a volunteer at West Alvington Primary School in Kingsbridge and a school crossing officer - for services to education
  • Physiotherapist Professor Grace Dorey, from Barnstaple, for services to healthcare
  • David Honeywill, from Exeter, for services to the fire and rescue service and the local community
  • Helen Jenny, from Gunnislake, Cornwall, for services to Dartmoor National Park and to young people in Devon and Cornwall
  • John Railton, from Totnes, for services to music
  • Dr Brian Walker - from Bideford and former director of the University of Winchester Centre of Religions for Reconciliation and Peace - for services to higher education
  • William Webber, from South Molton, for voluntary service to the Royal British Legion in the area
  • Keith White, from Plymouth, for services to sport