Five of Leeds’s Rio 2016 heroes have been handed MBEs in the New Year’s Honours list today, while double Olympic Champion Nicola Adams crowned a triumphant year with an OBE for services to boxing.
Kadeena Cox, who won gold in cycling and athletics during the Paralympics and was the flag-bearer at the closing ceremony in September, was among those to receive an MBE.
Jack Laugher and Chris Mears, who together won Britain’s first ever gold medal in diving, were also honoured, along with gold-medal winning rower Paul Bennett and Adam Duggleby, who won two Paralympic golds as a sighted pilot for visually impaired cyclist Stephen Bate.
Nicola Adams, who earlier this week guest edited the Today show on BBC Radio 4, is Britain’s most celebrated female boxer after winning her second gold medal at Rio this summer.
It capped a spectacular for year for Leeds sport and also for the country at large, a fact reflected by the knighthoods given to tennis star Andy Murray, runner Mo Farah, and a damehood for Sheffield’s Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Outside the Rio Games, there was an MBE for Tim Adams, a former director of Huddersfield Giants and the Chairman of the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.
And Brian Robinson, from Mirfield, the first Briton to compete in the Tour de France, was named as the recipient of a British Empire Medal for services to cycling.
The 86-year-old father-of-three from Mirfield, who was also the first Briton to win a Tour de France stage, said he hadn’t “broadcast” the news since getting a letter about it two weeks ago. He said: “I haven’t told anyone, really, not even my family know.
“It is like a bonus really, I don’t suppose anyone ever counts on this sort of thing, not at my level anyway.
“It is very nice for cycling to be rewarded. I come from a cycling family, my father was a champion so we have a pedigree.”
Away from the sporting world, a number of outstanding public servants from Leeds were honoured in today’s list.
Nigel Richardson, the man credited with transforming Leeds City Council’s troubled children’s services department prior to his retirement earlier this year, was awarded a CBE for services to children and families.
The civil servant, who has worked in and round the public sector for 34 years, was also behind the birth of the Child Friendly Leeds initiative which is backed by the YEP.
Professor Carol Smart, a feminist sociologist and academic, formerly of the University of Leeds, and co-director at the Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life, was also awarded a CBE for services to the social sciences.
Tom Miskell, who has held a number of senior housing jobs across the North and is currently chairman at Bradford-based Accent group, was named as the recipient of an OBE for services to Housing Associations in North East England.
And Roderick Clifton, operations support manager at the Valuation Office Agency, was awarded an OBE for services to council tax processes.
Colin Glass, a chartered accountant with his own practice, Winburn Glass Norfolk, which he founded, with two partners, in 1975, will receive an OBE for services to business start-ups and entrepreneurship.
Leeds GP Dr Yen Andersen was awarded a British Empire Medal for services to Safeguarding Children and Prevention of Domestic Violence in North Leeds.
And veterinarian Dr Jason Aldiss, from Drighlington, a former President of the Veterinary Public Health Association, was also awarded a British Empire Medal for political service.
West Yorkshire Police’s Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Angela Williams was among the recipients of a Queen’s Policing Medal.
The former commander of the force’s Bradford, Airedale and Calderdale districts was one of three Yorkshire officers to get the medal, which was instituted by royal warrant in 1954 and is awarded to officers for acts of courage and conspicuous devotion to duty.
This year more rank-and-file officers were honoured after a change in approach by police leaders.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “These deserving recipients of Queen’s Police Medals have gone above and beyond the call of their duties and it is absolutely right that we recognise all of those who serve our communities and keep us safe.”
A woman described as the driving force behind the creation of the first special free school in the country has been awarded an MBE.
Catherine Parlett, 52, helped set up the Lighthouse School in Cookridge, which required the transformation of a derelict hospital building into a modern, state-of-the-art facility.
According to the Cabinet Office: “She places a great emphasis on preparation for adulthood and has created a number of opportunities for work experience and training for the students leaving the school.
“She has built ground-breaking partnerships with local and national companies to create supported internships and has developed micro businesses where a widening group of young people with autism are building valuable life skills and work experience.”
The citation adds: “She is modest and unassuming, always placing young people at the heart of her accomplishments; she is the one who takes.”
Elsewhere, Professor Anne Neville, of the University of Leeds, who is chair in Emerging Technologies at the Royal Academy of Engineering, was awarded an OBE for services to engineering.
And Angela Cox, Diocesan director for Education at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Leeds, was made an OBE for services to education in today’s list.
A hospital specialist who helps support child burn victims says she is “amazed and overwhelmed” to get the British Empire Medal.
Burns Hospital Play Specialist, Tracy Foster, from Pinderfields Hospital, in Wakefield, was honoured for services to burn and scald rehabilitation for children.
She has been a play specialist for 12 years. A large part of her role involves distracting poorly children during painful dressing changes, as well as reassuring them and their parents during their stay in hospital. She also helps prepare children for surgery.
Separately, David Wilkinson, a consultant vascular surgeon who helped oversee the successful expansion of the University of Leeds Medical School into Bradford, was awarded an MBE.