Queen’s Birthday Honours joy for Leeds Rhinos legend Sir Kev

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HE’S known to Leeds Rhinos fans by the nickname Sir Kev.

Now, however, Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield can lay claim to official recognition from Buckingham Palace.

The Oldham-born adopted Loiner has received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, it was announced tonight.

And the most successful captain in his club’s history immediately told of his pride at the award, for services to rugby league.

Sinfield, 33, said: “I’m obviously delighted and very proud and I’m sure my family will be when they find out.

“I think it’s great that rugby league gets some recognition again.

“I’d like to dedicate it to all those players I’ve played alongside over many years and coaches I’ve played under and all the people at Leeds really who have played such a huge part in my career.”

Sinfield emulates his Leeds team-mate Jamie Peacock – nicknamed JP – who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2012 New Year Honours.

“It’s really nice to follow in his footsteps,” Sinfield said.

“If you look back over the last couple of years at the former players who have been honoured, the likes of JP and Steve Prescott and, going back even further, one of my heroes Ellery Hanley, those three have been inspirations to a lot of people and certainly to myself.”

Lollipop lady Sue Yardley was given a British Empire Medal after 20 years spent guiding pupils at Scholes (Elmet) Primary School safely across the road.

The 64-year-old grandmother-of-five said: “I am absolutely over the moon. I think it’s so nice that somebody has put me forward for it.

“I love children and I love being a lollipop lady. The secret is just being cheerful, even when the weather’s not so good!”

Mrs Yardley was joined on the honours list by Leeds political stalwart Andrew Carter, who was handed a CBE.

Coun Carter, leader of the Conservative group on Leeds City Council and ward member for Calverley and Farsley, said: “I’m chuffed, really delighted.

“I am hugely grateful for the support I have had over the years from the city of Leeds.

“Without the help of people in places such as Farsley, Calverley and Pudsey, this would not have happened. I owe them a great deal.”

There was also a CBE for Neil McLean, former chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and current chair of Leeds City College.

Mr McLean said: “I am delighted that the work of the whole team at the LEP and Leeds City College in promoting the regional economy and skills agenda has been recognised in this award.”

Community champions on the list included devoted foster carers Victor and Miriam Bennett, who both received MBEs.

The couple have looked after hundreds of children and even moved from Seacroft in Leeds to Bridlington to give three disabled youngsters they were caring for a better life.

Mr Bennett said: “To see the happiness in the children’s faces makes it all worthwhile. When you get into fostering, you don’t expect a reward, to have an MBE is unbelievable.”

Mrs Bennett added: “I wouldn’t do anything else. When I got the letter I thought it was a hoax. I was flabbergasted.”

A reverend who works tirelessly to unite different faiths in north Leeds was awarded an MBE.

Rev Canon Charles Dobbin, team rector at Moor Allerton and Shadwell, said he had been “astonished” to find he was on the list, adding: “Earning the respect of my peers here in Leeds has been the biggest honour I can get.”

Martin Binks, who has been the conductor of Leeds Symphony Orchestra since 1970, was awarded an MBE for services to music.

Mr Binks, of Horsforth, told the YEP: “I am very proud and was delighted when I found out.

“This would not have been possible without musicians to conduct, of course, so it is for everyone, really.”

Wakefield-born diabetes campaigner Jenny Hirst, 71, was given an MBE. The co-founder of the InDependent Diabetes Trust charity said: “Words can hardly describe how honoured I am to be recognised in this way.”

A British Empire Medal went to Garforth Neighbourhood Elders Team centre manager Monica Walker.

The scheme provides support which helps hundreds of older people maintain their independence in the community.

Mrs Walker, 57, said: “I am really humbled and thrilled. I’ve always thought that recognition was for the important or brave – all we do is provide kindness and a listening ear.

“I am just representing the charity. We have a wonderful team and volunteers who work tirelessly. I will cherish it for the rest of my life.”

June Perkin was given the British Empire Medal for her work as the founder and driving force of a Kippax community garden called The Growing Zone.

The British Empire Medal was re-introduced in 2012 to recognise volunteers who make a difference to their communities.

Leeds Civic Hall.

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