Whitley Bay cinema boss and North Shields charity founder among those recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

Two key figures in North Tyneside are celebrating after being recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

By David Sedgwick
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 10:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd June 2022, 12:48 pm
Dan Ellis (left) and Lynn McManus have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Dan Ellis (left) and Lynn McManus have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Daniel Ellis, founder and managing director of Jam Jar Cinema in Whitley Bay, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to cinema while Lynn McManus, founder of Pathways4all and The Tim Lamb Centre, has received an MBE for services to children with disabilities

The 33-year-old opened the cinema in the heart of Whitley Bay in 2013, creating a community venue run by and for the community.

It is now a state-of-the-art three screen theatre with cafe and this year is on course to welcome more than 70,000 visitors, after being hit hard for the last two years due to the pandemic.

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The cinema also runs events for schools, older people and isolated members of the community while offers a pay as you please scheme, enabling individuals to choose the relevant costing based on their personal circumstances.

Jam Jar Cinema has quickly become a hub of the community and currently runs up to eighty screenings a week.

Dan, who is at the cinema every day, greeting visitors, acting as usher and playing the films, said: “I am immensely proud. I’m thankful and humbled, I still don’t know who put me forward for this.

"It’s been a labour of love. Whitley Bay is a different place than it was ten years ago and I’d like to think the Jam Jar has played a major role in that.

"We have invested in the night-time economy and now there are a lot more independent cafes and restaurants open.

"Since we’ve been open, we’ve helped raise £100,000 for good causes.”

Lynn, from North Shields, opened The Tim Lamb Centre in 2012 at the Rising Sun Country Park after approaching Northumberland Estates to purchase the derelict property.

The 61-year-old had a dream to build a safe place for disabled children to play after fostering and adopting five disabled children with her husband and seeing for herself the lack of opportunities for children with disabilities.

Within a year of opening, the Centre was serving over 200 families from the North East area.

Now open seven days a week, employing a small staff team and catering for over 1,500 families from across the North East, the centre has proved to be a real lifeline, offering such a unique play environment for disabled children and their family.

The centre closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, but Lynn continued her dedicated service to the families which resulted in almost 300 gift boxes being distributed last Christmas.

Lynn has been recognised with a number of awards including Tesco Mum of the Year in 2014, Halifax Giving Extra Awards in 2015, the Chronicle Sunshine Award in 2019, the Prime Ministers Point of Light Award in 2017, and a Pride of Britain (North East) Award.

This week she was also named as a Platinum Champion.

Speaking of her Platinum Champion award, Lynn said: “It was a huge surprise to be nominated for the award and I am absolutely delighted to be recognised in such a momentous year for our Queen.

“I hope my story inspires people to champion those with special needs, and I want to dedicate my award to all the families and children I’ve helped over the past 10 years.”