New Year Honours for Northumberland residents

Hedley Heron
Hedley Heron

Three community stalwarts from north Northumberland are among those to be recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Hedley George Heron, 59, from Rothbury, is to receive an MBE for services to charity and the community in Northumberland.

Frank Bull

Frank Bull

Frank Eric Bull, 93, and Jean O’Hanlon, 67, both from Alnwick, have been honoured with the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Hedley Heron, of Mount Terrace, is well deserving of his MBE. Despite his busy work life, he has devoted himself to helping others in the community for more than 30 years.

In 1986, he decided to organise an annual local country show. It has now become a focal point of the summer calendar in mid-Northumberland, with competitions for sheep, Cumberland wrestling, terrier racing, garden produce, cooking, children’s sports, display of vintage cars and steam engines and many more aspects of traditional country life.

He is also chairman and treasurer of the Simonside Country Fair and continues to be the driving force behind the event that attracts hundreds of visitors from a vast area every August.

In 2006, he instigated the February Simonside Hay Show, to which competitive farmers from a wide area bring their fodder to be judged and auctioned, which is followed by an auction of favours. The combined events currently raise around £8,000 each year for a vast amount of charities.

His favourite charity is the Great North Air Ambulance Service and he took on the challenge to start training for sponsored bike rides, the first being from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and raising more than £16,000 for the cause.

The second was a cycle twice the length of Britain, from Rothbury to Land’s End to John O’Groats; on this occasion he raised more than £12,000.

Frank Bull, who lives at Robert Adam Court, in Bondgate Without, will receive his BEM for services to the Royal British Legion and the community in Whitby.

After training at Bletchley Park, he was shipped out to the Eastern Mediterranean, where he was a wireless operator in the field. After five years’ service, he returned home to his job as auctioneer and estate agent and has spent 70 years supporting the Royal British Legion.

Between 1965 and 2008, a sum of more than £375,000 was raised in the Whitby district and, in 2015, he personally raised £493 in Alnwick.

At the age of 40, he joined the Whitby 41 Club and is still a member to this day. He even held the role of National President in 1987 and, during his time, spearheaded a campaign to raise funds for the RNLI.

This is another charity he supports and the club managed to raise enough funds to purchase four inshore lifeboats. He actively supports the Whitby Methodist Church where he ran the youth club with his wife in the 1970s and 1980s to keep young people occupied.

He now attends Alnwick Methodist Church and gives support as much as he can.

In 2008, he was made an honorary citizen of Whitby in recognition of his work in the local community and he is founder member of Whitby Round Table. His complete dedication to the cause is truly commendable.

Jean O’Hanlon, of Greensfield Avenue, has been awarded a BEM for voluntarily helping ex-service personnel and the local community.

Since she joined the Wansbeck Division of SSAFA Northumberland Branch as a volunteer caseworker 11 years ago, she has worked for the benefit of the serving and ex-service clients of the charity in some of the most deprived wards of the county, which are strong recruiting areas for the Army and have a higher-than-average population of service families.

As a gifted amateur flower arranger of the Embleton Flower Club, she has produced many floral events for charities recognising those who have lost their lives in service.

She organised 32 floral arranging groups to produce the most spectacular displays in aid of SSAFA, making this a remarkable occasion that caught the imagination of the public, reinforcing the national mood of reflection and gratitude for the sacrifice of those who gave their lives.

She organises the parishioners of her local St Paul’s Church at Alnwick in donating food and clothing to the People’s Kitchen, a charity which provides food, clothing and support for distressed people and families.