Stoke & Staffordshire

Man, 87, appointed MBE for services to community

Thomas George Beech with wife Irene
Image caption Thomas George Beech, pictured with wife Irene, has been appointed MBE

An 87-year-old man who has served his community in Staffordshire for almost 70 years has been appointed MBE.

Thomas George Beech, a member of Trent Vale Methodist Church, Stoke-on-Trent, chose hundreds of disadvantaged children to go on holiday after the Home Office gave it funding.

He also works as a school governor and a police custody visitor.

Others recognised in the New Year Honours list include Olympic gold medal winning rower Anna Watkins.

Watkins, from Longsdon, won gold in the women's double sculls at London 2012 with team-mate Katherine Grainger and has now been appointed MBE.

Youth services

Others appointed MBE include PC Andrew Whitehall, from Staffordshire Police, for services to young people in Stone.

He regularly supports schools, social services and youth services, helped to open a youth cafe in Stone and also negotiated the use of a gymnasium to begin working with youngsters who had become involved in anti-social behaviour and crime.

Since the 1980s Mr Beech has been a school governor and vice chair of Chesterton Primary School, Newcastle-under-Lyme, and a governor at Newcastle Business College.

Since 1996 he has also been an independent custody visitor for the Staffordshire force, visiting local police stations unannounced to check on the welfare of people in police custody.

Mr Beech, who has been appointed MBE for services to the community in North Staffordshire, said: "When I saw On Her Majesty's Service I assumed it was something to do with income tax or something like that.

"But on discovering it wasn't that and it was something far more important, it seemed surreal and I felt both honoured and humbled really to receive this because my work with children and families in education had been a privilege to me."

The other people in Staffordshire to receive honours are:


  • Richard Alexander Hill for services to HM Revenue and Customs and voluntary service with homeless people and young offenders.


  • John Geoffrey Burton for services to church bell ringing in North Staffordshire.
  • Dr Francis Gibbs Crane, head of geography and Duke of Edinburgh's co-ordinator, Stafford Grammar School, for services to education.
  • Coral Lydia Gould, a singing teacher, for services to music and the arts.
  • Jon Honeysett, from Kidsgrove Environmental Watch Response Group, for services to rail in Kidsgrove.
  • Lesley Knighton, chief Guide commissioner in the Midlands region, for services to young people.


  • Lewis Henry Badger, volunteer for Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, for services to the environment.


  • Michael Cunningham, Staffordshire Police Chief Constable.