New Year Honours 2019: David Johnson honoured for youth theatre work

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David JohnsonImage source, David Johnson
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David Johnson has helped launch the careers of many actors

A man who set many young actors on the path to stardom has been recognised in the New Year Honours.

David Johnson, 73, who began the Oldham Theatre Workshop 50 years ago, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).

"It's fantastic," he said. "It may sound a cliché, but it's as much about the team I have had as it is about me."

Mr Johnson's drama classes produced award-winning actors from Anna Friel to Coronation Street stars including Suranne Jones and Anne Kirkbride.

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Anna Friel, Suranne Jones and Anne Kirkbride were all given a start in their careers by David Johnson

Kirkbride, who played Deirdre Barlow in the long-running ITV soap, attended one of his early workshops and was the first of many to end up on the famous Corrie cobbles.

"It is good to see young people go on and have a successful acting career, but I am also pleased that it gives the young people a chance to develop themselves" Mr Johnson said.

UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, meanwhile, has been made a Dame for services to protecting information.

Earlier this year, Ms Denham, from Wilmslow, Cheshire, led an investigation into how the personal data of 50 million Facebook users was harvested and used by Cambridge Analytica.

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Saeed Atcha runs his own magazine and a charity for young people

One of the youngest recipients of an award in this year's list went from being a "tearaway" to running his own magazine and a jobs charity for young people.

"It is unbelievable," said Saeed Atcha, 22, from Bolton who has been appointed MBE.

He founded Xplode magazine after the 2011 riots to counter the media image of "feral" teenagers.

Mr Atcha is now its chief executive and head of a charity to help young people improve their job prospects.

Other people honoured in Greater Manchester include:

The Conservative former leader of Trafford Council, Sean Anstee, becomes a CBE for services to local government, as does former Labour councillor for Withington Andrew Fender.

Hilary Craft, founder and chairwoman of Action Against Cancer, is appointed OBE for leading fundraising to help cutting-edge research into cancer treatments.

The same honour goes Mike Hamilton, founder and chief executive of Commando Joe's, for providing learning support for teachers and pupils, and Chris Harrop, director of sustainability at Marshalls for his work in tackling modern slavery.

The chairman of the British Muslim Heritage Centre, Nasar Mahmood, is recognised with an OBE for improving community relations in Manchester, as is the chair of the board of trustees at Disability Rights UK. Alan Stevens, from Macclesfield, is honoured for his work helping people with Multiple Sclerosis.

Paula Dunn, 54, Paralympic head coach for UK Athletics, is appointed MBE for services to the sport.

Four officers with Greater Manchester Police who dealt with the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing have all been honoured: Det Ch Insp Robert Gallagher is appointed MBE, Det Ch Insp Teresa Lam and Sgt Jared Simpson receive the BEM and Ch Insp Dale Sexton receives the Queen's Police Medal.

Supt Umer Khan, who worked to repair community relations after the 2001 Oldham riots, is also appointed MBE.

The dean of Manchester Cathedral, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender, Rabbi Warren Elf, 59, and Mufti Helal Mahmood, 37, are all honoured with MBEs for their work promoting inter-faith dialogue and community cohesion.