A FORMER town mayor, an MP, a former MEP and a Paralympian are among local people to win awards in the New Year’s Honours.
Ross-on-Wye town councillor Jane Roberts has been honoured with a British Empire Medal for her work with the town’s Community Development Trust during the pandemic.
North Herefordshire Conservative MP Bill Wiggin, who lives outside the constituency in Upton Bishop near Ross-on-Wye, has been knighted for political and public service, while former Conservative Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands, Anthea McIntyre from Walford, has been made a CBE.
Drybrook and Longhope Paralympic fencing champion Piers Gilliver is another to receive an honour, with an MBE for services to sport.
Cllr Roberts set up the CDT in October 2019 while town mayor, and the organisation played a key role locally when the pandemic broke out in early 2020, setting up a grocery and shopping service for those in isolation and a telephone helpline, managed by its team of volunteers.
On her award, she said: "Whilst I am delighted to be recognised in this year’s Honours List, I am accepting this on behalf of the Ross CDT and the incredible volunteer network that has enabled the charity to grow from strength to strength.
"I must emphasise that the achievements should be attributed to a whole-town effort as well as the relentless work of several local volunteer groups.
"Without our strong network of volunteers, the Ross CDT would not have been in a position to achieve what it has done to date and I am so humbled by the efforts of the many wonderful supporters we have in and around Ross-on-Wye".
A spokesperson for the group said: "The Ross-on-Wye Community Development Trust is delighted to announce that its chair, Jane Roberts, has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list for a BEM - a British Empire Medal - due to the outstanding work that the charity has undertaken within the Ross-on-Wye community since its inception in October 2019."
Set up with the aim of establishing the Ross Good Neighbours scheme - a network of community ’buddies’, to assist those living remotely or without an immediate support network - and to provide a platform to connect local voluntary groups with each other, the pandemic soon provided a huge challenge.
But Ross CDT continued to support its community, signing up 420 volunteers to assist with its ongoing helpline and telephone befriending services, 921 shopping deliveries, 1,800 prescription deliveries (via Ross Lions and Rotary Clubs) and more than 30,000 newsletter and leaflet drops to every household in the Ross area, ensuring that those who weren’t online had access to vital information.
Also during 2021, after a successful application for funding from the National Academy for Social Prescribing’s Thriving Community Fund, the Ross CDT launched its Clover Project in collaboration with five other Herefordshire groups, to make wellbeing activities more widely available to the whole community, and to GPs seeking options for patients to achieve healthier lifestyles.
Bill Wiggin, 55, said of his knight bachelor honour: "I am surprised but honoured by this award, which shows tremendous respect for my whole constituency, not simply for me.
"I am delighted that the work I have done in Parliament and most of all for my constituents, has been recognised.
"My family and I are thrilled and have been especially touched by some of the kind notes of congratulation.
"Working for the people of Herefordshire has been a reward in itself, so this honour is simply the icing on the cake."
He has been the MP for North Herefordshire, formerly Leominster, for 20 years and was Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Shadow Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries as well as a whip before the Conservatives swept to power in 2010.
He is currently Chair of the Committee of Selection and has campaigned locally for better flood defences, pollution in the Wye and its tributaries and better broadband.
Former MEP Anthea McIntyre, 67, has also been made a CBE for political and public service.
She represented the West Midlands for a decade, and has been a lifelong party activist, having become the youngest county councillor in England in the 1970s.
Formerly a partner with MCP Management Consultants, she was appointed to the European Parliament in 2011 after it was enlarged and the UK received an extra seat.
During her time in Europe, she served on the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and as a member of the Delegation for Relations with South Africa.