YEP Says, December 31: Local heroes fully deserving of their New Year honours

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...but what happened to a gong for Gary?

THE New Year’s honours list will always divide opinion, with some claiming it is little more than a mechanism for rewarding the highest profile supporters of whatever political party happens to be in power at the time.

But while such criticism is not completely wide of the mark, no one could deny that there are some truly deserving names on the latest roll of honour.

Dr Kate Granger, for instance, is an inspirational figure. A consultant at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, she continues to work despite being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Not only that but she has launched the #hellomynameis campaign to encourage colleagues to introduce themselves properly to patients in order to build the sort of human connection that is sometimes missing within the NHS.

Then there are the likes of Jonathan Vogler, who plays a vital role in the upkeep of Roundhay Park through its Friends Of group.

Clive Cowell, meanwhile, helped create a memorial for the more than 80 miners who died at Allerton Bywater colliery. And how about long-serving Armley scout leader Ron Pilkington, who has been with the 17th South West Leeds group since the age of eight?

These are exactly the sort of unsung local heroes who fully deserve the moment in the limelight that the New Year’s honours provides. Well done to them all.

...but what happened to a gong for Gary?

One name notable by its absence from the honours list is Gary Verity – the Welcome To Yorkshire supremo who was the driving force behind one of 2014’s greatest sporting moments, the Grand Départ in Leeds.

It’s especially puzzling given that there were gongs for Peter Smith from Leeds City Council for his hard work which contributed to the success of the Tour’s visit to West Yorkshire and also for those who staged the Commonwealth Games up in Glasgow.

Surely it can’t be because Gary refused to take ‘no’ for an answer when Government ministers wanted Edinburgh to stage the race ahead of the Scottish independence vote, can it?