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New Year Honours list recognises Greater Manchester community heroes

The 2021 list celebrates contributions by Greater Manchester doctors and nurses plus others who have helped the community

The New Year Honours List 2021, announced today, includes 1,239 recipients recognised for their extraordinary contributions across the UK – and Greater Manchester’s doctors and nurses feature heavily.

In a year that has truly tested the resolve and determination of those on the frontline, public sector workers make up 14.8% of the list and include firefighters, medical professionals, teachers, police officers and local government workers – all of whom are being recognised for making a huge individual impact, and in particular in the response to COVID-19.

This includes a British Empire Medal to Cath Fitzsimmons from Greater Manchester, a former palliative care nurse who came out of retirement for COVID-19.

A nurse with over 40 years’ service in the NHS, with roles including Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse, Cath was the first nurse to come back out of retirement to return to the wards of Salford Royal and support the Palliative Care and Bereavement Teams.

“I felt that I couldn’t sit at home during the pandemic whilst my colleagues were preparing for the unknown, hence I volunteered to return as a retiree,” Cath told the Northern Care Alliance.

“Working with the Palliative Care Team enabled me to use my experience to support patients and families and carers in a very different environment to our norm and during the most distressing times for them.”

Others recognised include Wendy Clapham, from Oldham, an assistant director of Nursing Services for Critical Care, Outpatients and Pre-Operative Assessment at the Royal Oldham Hospital, who has been recognised for services to nursing, particularly during the COVID-19 response.

She has worked as a nurse in the NHS for 30 years, including working clinically in critical care, service management in anaesthetics and critical care, within clinical governance and other specialist nursing roles.  

Wendy’s work has been at the forefront of the hospital’s response to the pandemic, during which she has played a pivotal role in ensuring that patients and their families have received the care, treatment, support and communication they need during one of the most difficult times of their lives. 

“This year has been like no other,” said Wendy.

“Leading the Intensive Care Unit team and the staff who came to support us has been a privilege.

“I have seen some exceptional work by the nursing teams in circumstances nobody would have wished for and been blown away by the bravery and dedication of colleagues in the face of sustained challenge.

“I share this award with each and every one of them.” 

Dr Harnovdeep Singh Bharaj MBE, consultant in diabetes and general medicine for the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, has been recognised for his services to people with diabetes in the South Asian community.

Dr Amir Simon Hannan from Hale Barns, the GP at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres who was faced with the challenge of taking over Harold Shipman’s surgery, has been recognised for services to General Practice in Hyde and Haughton Green.

And Dr Heather Ann Williams of Cheadle Hulme, a Consultant Medical Physicist for Nuclear Medicine at Christie NHS Foundation Trust, has been recognised for services to Diversity and to Inclusion in Science.

The majority of awards are for the contributions people have made in their communities. Of those receiving an award, 65% are recognised for their community work.

Photo: Urban Outreach / Twitter

Co-founders of Urban Outreach Christine and David Bagley, from Bolton, have been made MBEs after their work helped to feed 36,000 people since the beginning of lockdown.

Their charity addresses ‘poverty’ in all its forms, helping struggling adults, families, homeless people, ex-offenders and also children who go missing from home.

The oldest person on the list is Anne Baker from Salisbury in Wiltshire, who at 106 years old receives an MBE for fundraising for the NSPCC, while the youngest recipient is 20 year old Samah Khalil, the Youth Mayor of Oldham.

Samah has received a BEM for her work in empowering young people.

Alun Francis, the Principal and Chief Executive of Oldham College, has been made an OBE for services to education.

And among the famous faces to receive recognition is Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor, who is made an MBE for services to drama.

“In a year when so many have made sacrifices to protect our NHS and save people’s lives, the outstanding efforts of those receiving honours today are a welcome reminder of the strength of human spirit, and of what can be achieved through courage and compassion,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“The 2021 New Year Honours offer us an opportunity to salute their dedication and recognise many who have gone above and beyond in their contribution to our country.

“As we begin a new year and continue to come together to fight this virus, may their service and stories be an inspiration to us all.”

You can read the full list of New Year Honours 2021 here.

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