OVER 70 people from the South West have received honours in HM The King’s Birthday Honours List 2024, published today by the Cabinet Office — seven are from Somerset.

The King's Honours List focuses on those who have initiated a substantial change where it was needed. It recognises people who have had an immeasurable impact on the lives of thousands of people across the country.

Many are active community champions, innovative social entrepreneurs, pioneering scientists, passionate health workers and dedicated volunteers who have gone the extra mile. 

Recipients from the South West make up 7.4% of the total number of recipients receiving honours this year.

Somerset locals named by this year's King's Birthday Honours list:

  • Knighthood: Andrew David MARSH QPM Chief Executive, College of Policing. For services to Policing (Somerset)
  • Commanders of the Order of the British Empire: Andrew Alleyne BERRY Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Bridgwater and Taunton College, Somerset. For services to Further Education (Street, Somerset)
  • Officers of the Order of the British Empire: Philippa Ann BONAY Director, Operations, Office for National Statistics. For Public and Charitable Services (Sherborne, Dorset/Somerset)
  • Officers of the Order of the British Empire: David Dewar RUSSELL Senior Project Manager, Land Combat Vehicles, Defence Equipment and Support. For services to Defence (Portishead, Somerset)
  • Officers of the Order of the British Empire: Professor Dudley Edmund SHALLCROSS Lately Chief Executive Officer, Primary Science Teaching Trust, Bristol. For services to Education (Portishead, Somerset)
  • Members of the Order of the British Empire: Esther Erica BRITTEN Deputy Director, Head of Major Events, UK Sport. For services to Sport (Shepton Mallet, Somerset)
  • Medallists of the Order of the British Empire: Susan Iris SHAPLAND For voluntary services to Culture and to the community in West Somerset (Minehead, Somerset)

Other notable recipients in the South West include:

David Corben from Swanage, Dorset, receives an MBE for Voluntary Service to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. He is currently chair of the Lifeboat Management Group at Swanage Lifeboat Station. He joined the crew at the age of 20 having already served as a volunteer with the local Coastguard Rescue Team. During his tenure, Swanage Lifeboat Station has been credited with saving 566 lives across more than 2,750 launches, and his collective fundraising efforts have raised approximately £50,000 for the RNLI. 

Jamila Gavin from Stroud, Gloucestershire, receives an MBE for services to children’s literature. She has enriched the nation’s body of literature with over 40 novels and short stories over the past 40 years. She has often gone into libraries and schools to read works to children. The Book Trust listed her novel The Wheel of Surya as one of the best children’s books written in the past 100 years.

Caroline Gould from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, receives an MBE for services to hedgehog welfare. She has made an exceptional personal contribution to wildlife welfare as the founder of Vale Wildlife Hospital, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2024. Her passion for wildlife rescue was first sparked by an encounter with her local vet after she volunteered to look after an injured tawny owl. She has championed the cause of wildlife protection ever since, caring for foxes, birds, and owls among other species. Today, her pioneering protocols for caring for wild hedgehogs are used worldwide, and the hospital she founded cared for 7,500 animal casualties in 2022.

Sally Bourton from Saint Austell, Cornwall, receives a BEM for services to the community in Cornwall. She is the Postmistress for Trewoon and has been at the heart of her community for 24 years serving her village near St Austell. She juggles running her Post Office alongside local fundraising activities. During the pandemic, she was instrumental in pulling together a list of local volunteers in the area who were willing to help the community. For the Coronation of HM King Charles, she organised for every child in the village to receive a mint tcoin with the King's head on it. She was also involved in organising Coronation celebrations in Trewoon. 

Neil Parsons from Exmouth, Devon, receives a BEM for services to sport. He started boxing at the age of 16, and over the last 53 years has guided thousands of youngsters into the sport to keep them away from criminality. He works with local schools who send young people to his boxing club, many of whom suffer with anger management, and is able to help turn their lives around through the sport. He has raised nearly £100,000 for the club through volunteering and the club is today one of the top boxing clubs in the West of England. 

If you know someone who has achieved fantastic things worthy of recognition, you can nominate them for an honour at www.gov.uk/honours.