Six North Devonians have received goings in the Queen’s New Years Honours list, including two MBEs.
Frances Bell from Barnstaple and Douglas Seymour from the Ilfracombe area have been named Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Vivien Foster from Bideford has been given the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and Gloria Satchwell from Ilfracombe plus Frank Handscombe from South Molton have been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).
Rob Horton from Holsworthy has received the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for his work with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust.
Frances Bell from Barnstaple has been named an MBE for her services to teaching and the arts and music.
Frances, 56, worked at Newport School for 30 years and has been a teacher for more than 34 years.
She was also significantly involved with Barnstaple Twinning Association, particularly in working with schools in the Susa Valley, Italy. In addition, she worked for more than 20 years as a fundraiser for the Parent Teacher Association at Newport.
She is still closely involved with raising awareness of local musical talent and music charities.
She co-founded the Young Guitarists Fund charity and started the North Devon Academy of Music.
She said of her accolade: “I am deeply honoured. I hope that there are other dedicated teachers out there who might be inspired by this award and continue to invest their energy in young people.
“This has come as a surprise. I believe strongly in the importance of community. I try to contribute to it, in a way that is meaningful to me. Receiving this award, I am both humbled and delighted!”
Doug Seymour, from Combe Martin, has received an MBE for services to education as well as the community of North Devon.
For 30 years until 2014 he was a governor - and chairman for most of that time - at Frank Wise School in Banbury, for young people aged two to 19 with severe mental or physical disabilities.
He is still a trustee at Swalcliffe School in Oxfordshire for boys with autism and aspergers.
Since moving to Combe Martin he has become a parish councillor, served as chairman of the carnival committee and led a fundraising appeal to create a night landing site for the air ambulance, as well as lighting for the seafront.
He said: “I think that it’s an honour and a privilege to be acknowledged for what you do and I am sure that there are lots of people out there doing things that go unnoticed.
“It’s a shame that we can’t find a way of rewarding those people that you never hear about.”
Vivien Foster from Bideford received her OBE for services to the Merchant Navy Association, of which she is the co-founder. She said was was humbled by ‘this amazing recognition’.
Vivien is the National President of the Merchant Navy Association and has been involved since its inception.
She told the Gazette: “It’s aim was to get recognition for the role played by the Merchant Navy especially in World War Two when it was regarded as the fourth service but not included in the remembrance commemoration parades because they were regarded as non-combatant civilians.”
Vivien became involved in 1987, mainly because her father and his brother were the most highly decorated merchant seafarers as brothers in WWII and she said she felt it was in her blood to take up the cause for them.
She continues to work for the Merchant Navy to receive recognition at memorials, including a monument on Plymouth Hoe and has also marched past the Whitehall Cenotaph since 2000 when the Merchant Navy was finally invited to join the national remembrance event, as well as campaigning for the awarding of the Arctic Convoy Star for those who served.
Gloria Satchwell from Ilfracombe has been honoured with a BEM for her tireless work on behalf of the League of Friends of the Tyrrell Hospital in the town.
She has volunteered with the group for the past 25 years and has served as chairman for almost two decades.
The League is staunch in its support of the community hospital, raising money towards new equipment and continually fighting to ensure the hospital stays open.
The League of Friends shop in Church Street at the end of the High Street is a huge source of funds and a busy hub, usually with Gloria in the centre of it.
She said of her BEM: “You hear of other people getting them, but you never think it is going to happen to you.
I am thrilled to bits, but it’s also an honour for the League of Friends of the Tyrrell Hospital.
“At least people appreciate what we have been trying to do there. But it’s definitely worth it and I have had good people around me, like the committee and the volunteers at the shop, who are always there.”
Frank Handscombe from South Molton has been awarded a BEM for services to judo in the community.
Mr Handscombe, 85, is a 4th Dan black belt and has been involved with South Molton Judo Club for 38 years and served as chief instructor and principal for the past 28 years.
His nomination said: “He has had a considerable, positive influence on scores of youngsters through his passionate knowledge, committed organisation, and tireless teaching of life skills.
“He has personally mentored students to achieve black belt ranking and personal success in their careers. He always has the time to offer an ear and lend advice to steer youngsters in the right direction.”
Since 1993 Mr Handscombe has also been a volunteer hospital car driver as well as a volunteer Red Cross car servciue driver.
He has worked on behalf of many different causes in the South Molton area such as martial arts, football, the local church and the town band.
Mr Handscombe told the Gazette he had got into judo through his own children taking part in the sport and he had moved on to teaching.
He said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ to receive a BEM and said of his dedication to the sport: “I have children who started off with me years ago who are now senior players in their own right.”