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Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: Every Cambridgeshire person honoured, including Andy Hopper, Sam Dyer and Billy Boyle

The Queen’s Birthday Honours have been unveiled - and Cambridge and Cambridgeshire are very well represented in the list.

Some of the Cambridgeshire people honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2021
Some of the Cambridgeshire people honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2021

There are three knighthoods awarded, while The Cambridge Satchel Company founder Julie Deane is made a CBE, along with conservationist Prof William Sutherland.

Eight AstraZeneca staff receive honours, reflecting their work on the Covid-19 response and vaccine, while Owlstone Medical founder Billy Boyle is made an MBE, along with Magpas chief executive Darryl Brown.

Below, we detail every Cambridgeshire person receiving an honour. Congratulations to them all!


Professor John Aston - Harding professor of statistics, University of Cambridge, and lately chief scientific adviser, Home Office - for services to statistics and public policymaking (Cambridge).

Professor John Aston
Professor John Aston

A world-renowned statistician working in the Department of Pure Maths and Mathematical Statistics, Sir John has worked to promote trust in the use of statistics and quantitative evidence. As Home Office chief scientific adviser, he championed the use of science and research across the department, and his work has contributed to both national security and public safety. He has played a central role in the Home Office’s response to COVID-19, ensuring the Home Secretary was briefed and the latest scientific advice was available to be used.

Sir John’s analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, which gives information about brain activity, has become a standard reference, supporting scientific research.

Sir John said: “I am incredibly grateful and overwhelmed to receive this honour, but see it really as recognition of all the amazing people I have had the opportunity to work with both in academia and in government. Science really needs lots of people to work together and I've so benefited from this throughout my career.”

Professor Aston specialises in applied statistics. He was, until recently, a trustee of the Alan Turing Institute.

Philip Augar - lately chair, post-18 education and funding review - for services to higher and further education policy (Cambridge)

Philip Augar
Philip Augar

The newly-knighted Sir Philip Augar recently chaired a post-18 education and funding review. The Augar Review made more than 60 recommendations covering higher education and further education as well as ways to improve opportunity and provide skills for young people..

He told the Cambridge Independent: “I was privileged to chair an outstanding panel and to be supported by a team of dedicated officials. This honour reflects their efforts and I hope that the report we produced will remain of value to everyone involved in post-18 education.”

Sir Philip was a non-executive board member at the Department for Education from 2004-2010 and at the Home Office from 2010-2014, where he was also chairman of UK Border Agency in 2012-2013. He was a member of the cross-party Future of Banking Commission chaired by David Davis MP in 2010 and the same year advised the Scottish Parliament's inquiry into the banking crisis.

He was an independent non-executive at KPMG and was a board member of the retail bank TSB plc. He holds a doctorate in history and in 2018-19 chaired the panel reviewing post-18 education in England for the government.

Prof Andrew Hopper - treasurer and vice-president, the Royal Society - for services to computer technology (Cambridge)

Professor Andrew Hopper
Professor Andrew Hopper

Andy Hopper has made a major impact on the modern digital world through pioneering work in computer systems and architectures.

He told the Cambridge Independent: As you might imagine I am delighted. What I have achieved is all a result of teamwork. The University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Cluster have provided a wonderfully collaborative and flexible environment within which I have had the good fortune to work for over 40 years.”

The work of Prof Hopper and his team on computing and sustainability is helping to tackle global problems such as biodiversity and climate change.

He has a strong commitment to diversity: as head of the Department of Computer Science and Technology in Cambridge for 14 years, he helped increase the number of women appointed to the staff from a handful to over half.

The culture that was created also helped to establish more than 200 start-up businesses.


Companions of the Order of the Bath (CB)

John (Dominic) Wilson - director general, security policy, Ministry of Defence - for services to defence (St Neots)

Dominic Wilson, director of security policy, at the Ministry of Defence
Dominic Wilson, director of security policy, at the Ministry of Defence

Responsible for international security policy in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, Dominic Wilson also provides policy advice on issues including counter-terrorism, cyber, building stability overseas and preventing conflict, and supports civil authorities in the UK.


Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Julie Deane OBE - founder and chief executive officer, The Cambridge Satchel Company - for services to entrepreneurship and manufacturing (Great Shelford)

Julie Deane. Picture: Keith Heppell
Julie Deane. Picture: Keith Heppell

Julie Deane founded The Cambridge Satchel Company in 2008 from her kitchen table with her mother Freda and a ‘seed fund’ of £600.

The company is now a global phenomenon, selling its famous satchels in 120 countries around the world - with the likes of Taylor Swift, Emma Stone and Lady Gaga seen carrying the bags, which have appeared in TV shows including Girls, The Good Wife and Gossip Girl. When filming ended on the long-running Mad Men, Julie’s satchels were the official gift for the cast.

Julie graduated from Cambridge in 1987, joined Deloitte and qualified as a chartered accountant. She returned to Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, as the first fellow for development and the registrary - the first woman to hold the role in the college’s 650-year history.

Six years after launching her business, she raised $21m from Index ventures, and the 10,000-bag a month manufacturing base in Leicester won The Insider's British Manufacturer of the Year in 2014. She was made an OBE that December, and is the current entrepreneur in residence at The British Library.

The satchels have graced catwalks from London to New York, and there have been partnerships with designers like Vivienne Westwood.

The business was launched with the aim of making enough money to give Julie’s children a better education and a brighter future. Now, the brand works with the likes of The Royal Opera House, The Prince’s Foundation and The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) to help unearth hidden talents among young people.

Prof William Sutherland - Miriam Rothschild professor, conservation biology, University of Cambridge - for services to evidence-based conservation (Bury St Edmunds)

Professor William Sutherland
Professor William Sutherland

One of the world’s leading conservation scientists, Prof Sutherland applies ecological data and models to understand conservation problems.

Based in the Department of Zoology, and a professorial fellow of St Catharine’s College, he predicts the impact of environmental change, uses horizon scanning to identify forthcoming issues and has developed processes for integrating science and policy.

He told the Cambridge Independent it was a great surprise, and added: “There is a team of us trying to change conservation practice - over 1,000 of us globally - and I view this as an award for all of us and the teamwork.

“The idea is to transform conservation in the same way medicine has been transformed.”

He regularly advises the government and conservation organisations such as Natural England and The National Trust. He was president of the British Ecological Society and part of a team that created the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.

Read our full interview with Prof Sutherland.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Dr Sara (Penelope) Barratt - chief executive officer, The Bridge London Trust - for services to education (Eltisley)

Dr Penny Barratt is chief executive officer of The Bridge London Trust and executive headteacher of The Bridge School in London. She was appointed a National Leader of Education in 2009.

The Bridge London is a unique multi academy trust which is made up of three special schools, one primary school, a teaching school and outreach service.

Simon Burton - special adviser to the government chief whip - for political and public service (Huntingdon)

Prof Jagjit S Chadha - director, National Institute of Economic and Social Research - for services to economics and economic policy (Cambridge)

Prof Jagjit Chadha
Prof Jagjit Chadha

Prof Chadha is an expert on financial markets and monetary policy, as well as aspects of monetary and financial history. He has written widely on the design of monetary, fiscal and financial policies. He was previously a professor of economics at the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of Clare College. He has acted as specialist adviser to the House of Commons treasury committee and academic adviser to both the Bank of England and HM Treasury.

He told Cambridge Independent: “From under the long shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, I am pleased to have been able to contribute, with the work of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, to the understanding of our economy and towards the achievement of better economic policies for all.

“While the pandemic did not cause all our economic woes, it has exposed many of our previous failings. If we can continue to improve the influence of economic science on policy, I will be proud of my work and that of my colleagues in the economics community.”

Dr Frederick (Andrew) Clements - lately chief executive officer, British Trust for Ornithology - for services to conservation and policy (Cambridge)

Dr Andy Clements is a naturalist and ornithologist and was chief executive officer of the British Trust for Ornithology from 2007 until December 2020.

Dr Clements previously worked for the government’s nature conservation agencies. He held various senior positions from 1982 until 2006 and helped to establish Natural England.

In his role as a Natural England board member, Andy chairs the Natural England Science Advisory Committee (NESAC) and the National Nature Reserve partnership.

Dr Shaun Fitzgerald - director, Centre for Climate Repair, University of Cambridge - for services to the Covid-19 response (Cambridge)

Dr Shaun Fitzgerald
Dr Shaun Fitzgerald

Dr Fitzgerald, director at the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge, and fellow of Girton College, was called upon in spring 2020 to help with the SAGE Environmental Modelling Group.

He co-authored the CIBSE Emerging from Lockdown guidance, which included advice on ventilation in buildings. He is also serving on a range of other government bodies as part of the response to Covid-19, such as the DCMS Venues Steering Group, the Science Board to the Events Research Programme (which included the 2021 events at the Circus Nightclub in Liverpool and FA Cup Final), and the Aerosol Generating Procedures panel.

Susan Freestone - for services to education and the community in Cambridgeshire (Witcham)

Susan Freestone. Picture: Keith Heppell
Susan Freestone. Picture: Keith Heppell

Sue Freestone trained as a musician at the Royal Academy of Music. She has spent her career in education becoming principal and chief executive of King’s Ely in 2004 where she stayed until she retired in 2019. She has served as governor to a number of schools both state and independent in the UK and overseas.

Sue has been heavily involved in independent/state school partnerships and is currently involved in setting up the Cambridgeshire Education Partnership. She was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Cambridgeshire in 2019.

John Steele - lately chair, English Institute of Sport - for services to sport (Huntingdon)

John Steele was appointed chair of the science medicine and technology arm of UK Sport, the English Institute of Sport, in 2013 - a position he held until January this year. He was previously CEO of UK Sport and the Rugby Football Union. He is currently non-executive director of the Commonwealth Games England Board and is designated to become chair following the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Richard Turner - research and development director, AstraZeneca - for services to pharmaceutical manufacture and the Covid-19 response (Cambridge)

Richard Turner
Richard Turner

Richard Turner is one of eight AstraZeneca employees to be recognised for their outstanding achievements in UK life sciences, manufacturing and supporting the UK and global response to the current pandemic, including the manufacture of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Prof James Wood - head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge - for services to veterinary science (Cambridge)

Prof Wood’s research focuses on zoonoses - diseases transmissible from animals to humans – in particular bovine tuberculosis in the UK, Ethiopia and India, and its impact on milk-producing cattle and buffalo. His work also focuses on wildlife-associated emerging viral infections in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Ghana. He is on Defra’s Science Advisory Council and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Prof Wood is also Alborada Professor of Equine and Farm Animal Science, and fellow of Wolfson College.

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Dr Arif Ahmed - reader, University of Cambridge - for services to education (Cambridge)

Arif Ahmed
Arif Ahmed

Philosopher Dr Ahmed has been recognised for his contribution to the University of Cambridge’s statement on freedom of speech.

He raised concerns that a proposed wording that would have required people to be respectful of opinions and identities risked legitimising future censorship - something he saw as a threat to the free speech the university was trying to protect. He put forward an amendment stating that free speech should operate without fear of intolerance, which was passed, along with other amendments, by the Regent House - the University's governing body. Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope said the outcome was an emphatic reaffirmation of free speech in the university.

Dr Ahmed told the Cambridge Independent: “I feel tremendously honoured to have been recognized for services to education. The honour really belongs to everyone in Cambridge University who stood up for free speech over the last year. We all know that the battle is continuing in the country as it is in this university, but I feel very lucky to have been in a position to have made a contribution.”

Dr Ahmed joined Gonville & Caius College as a fellow in 2015, having studied mathematics at Oxford University and philosophy at Sussex and Cambridge. He is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Philosophy who writes on decision theory. An atheist and libertarian, he has an interest in religion and has debated the subject against William Lane Craig, Tariq Ramadan, Rowan Williams and others. His philosophical outlook is said to be most closely allied with the thinking of David Hume and Friedrich Hayek.

Paul (Billy) Boyle - chief executive officer, Owlstone Medical - for services to engineering. (Cambridge)

Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical with former PM Tony Blair
Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical with former PM Tony Blair

Billy Boyle’s company, Owlstone Medical, is on a mission to save 100,000 lives and $1.5billion in healthcare costs by using breath biopsy for the early detection of disease, including cancer, and for precision medicine.

Billy told the Cambridge Independent: “I'm very proud and humbled. Everything we have done at Owlstone is testament to a fantastic and dedicated team. There are still many exciting challenges ahead but we are optimistic our technology can have a profound impact on the lives of many patients.”

The company span out of the University of Cambridge in 2004 and was initially focused on military applications. Billy, who had a masters from the Department of Engineering, changed course after his wife, Kate, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. She died at just 34.

The Cambridge Science Park company’s Breath Biopsy technology is designed to enable crucial early diagnosis of such diseases. The device captures the sample and chemicals in the breath and that is analysed in the lab using software. Multiple trials are under way and partnerships have been established to help tackle areas of high unmet need.

The technology earned Owlstone the prestigious MacRobert Award in 2018 from the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Daryl Brown, chief executive, Magpas Air Ambulance - for services to Magpas and the air ambulance sector (Huntingdon)

Daryl Brown, of Magpas
Daryl Brown, of Magpas

Cambridge-born Daryl Brown was appointed chief executive of Magpas Air Ambulance in 2009.

The former Anglia Ruskin University has been a helm of the emergency medical charity ever since, taking the clinical service to 24/7 and gaining the first air ambulance Care Quality Commission registration.

Daryl has also held a number of charitable, NHS and local authority positions in Cambridgeshire.

He is a founding member of the Anglia Ruskin University Alumni Board and previously served as mayor and deputy mayor for Huntingdon, where he lives.

Daryl has also served as alternate member on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and for six years on the Governor Board of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Daryl is a trustee of Air Ambulances UK, the membership body and charity representing the United Kingdom’s air ambulance charities.

In March, he was “honoured” to be appointed deputy lieutenant of Cambridgeshire.

Daryl was the first lay member of the Intercollegiate Board for Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine and served as voluntary Chairman of NHS Cambridgeshire LINK, representing views on healthcare in Cambridgeshire.

He also served on the NHS East of England Major Trauma project board which established the first East of England trauma network.

Regina Clement - programme director, civil service HR, Cabinet Office - for public service. (Huntingdon)

Aimee Durning - teaching assistant, University of Cambridge Primary School - for services to education (Cambridge)

Aimee Durning
Aimee Durning

University of Cambridge Primary teaching assistant Aimee Durning earned her MBE for her work with children with special educational needs and disabilities, which she continued through the Covid crisis despite suffering a serious case of the disease herself.

Aimee, 47, from Cambridge, set up a regional network for TAs in the East of England to share best practices and develop their skills, particularly in helping vulnerable children, and has written a series of books on the subject.

She said: “I felt totally and utterly shocked when I heard I was being awarded the MBE. I couldn't believe it. To receive an MBE like Marcus Rashford is mind blowing.”

Read our full interview with Aimee Durning.

Samantha Dyer - director and chief executive officer, Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC - for services to tackling food inequality during Covid-19 (Cambridge)

Sam Dyer. Picture: Keith Heppell
Sam Dyer. Picture: Keith Heppell

A belief in the fundamental right that everyone should have access to healthy, affordable and sustainable food has paved the way for Sam Dyer’s career.

She is the chief executive officer and director of Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC, the chair of Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance and facilitates and mentors the Food Poverty Alliance Network in the Eastern region.

Previously she was Cambridge City Council’s sustainability officer and also worked for Cambridge Co-operative Development Agency. Sam has also run her own vegan catering businesses Curly Kale Cafe and Mouth Music.

Sam spearheaded the city’s pandemic emergency food response, overseeing the work of the Food Poverty Alliance, Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC and community groups across Cambridge.

Existing community fridges across Cambridge were repurposed as part of a new Community Food Hubs network, giving anyone at risk of food poverty access to food for free.

There are now nine hubs in the city, established by local community groups and supported by Cambridge Sustainable Food CIC and the Food Poverty Alliance, which saw 36,644 visits during 2020/21.

Sam said: “I am honoured to receive this award, a reflection of everyone’s hard work and community support over the last year and am deeply touched by the recognition from my community.

“Our work is as important now as when the pandemic started and I will continue to work for food justice for all those that go to bed hungry. This is a systemic failing and a result of years of austerity and welfare cuts. I will continue to advocate for a money first approach to the issue and for treating the root causes of food poverty as well as ensuring those in need can eat with dignity.”

Dr Abdul (Wasi) Raffey Faruqi - lately senior research scientist, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology - for services to medical research (Cambridge)

Dr Abdul Raffey Faruqi, known as Wasi Faruqi. Picture: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Dr Abdul Raffey Faruqi, known as Wasi Faruqi. Picture: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Dr Wasi Faruqi’s structural biology work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge have been recognised with an MBE.

Richard Henderson, of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and a 2017 Nobel laureate, told the Cambridge Independent: “It is wonderful and fitting that Wasi and his outstanding contributions to structural biology and to the LMB have been recognised in this way. Wasi’s detector physics background and decades of experience in detector design and validation for X-ray crystallography, and later cryo-EM, meant that the LMB had in-house skill and expertise, which has been the key to effective collaborations with the physics and engineering groups elsewhere.”

Claire Higgins - chief executive, Cross Keys Homes - for services to housing (Godmanchester)

Zillur Hussain - owner, Tavan Restaurant - for services to the community in Peterborough during the Covid-19 pandemic (Peterborough)

Rowhi Nemer - owner, CamCab - for services to frontline NHS workers and the community during the Covid-19 pandemic (Cambridge).

Rowhi Nemer. Picture: Keith Heppell
Rowhi Nemer. Picture: Keith Heppell

Rowhi started taxi company Camcab in 2004. The company has grown, with a staff of 20 and more than 100 drivers on its books, and now includes a garage servicing operation based at its Coldhams Road premises. Baked into the company’s ethos there is an astonishing commitment to giving back to the local community which has rightly won wider recognition.

Rowhi’s charitable activities include supporting Cambridge United and MAGPAS, along with a regular delivery to Jimmy’s Cambridge at Christmas to ensure homeless people get a Christmas Day meal.

When the pandemic crashed into the UK, Rowhi stepped up a gear, offering free lifts to NHS workers - at one point this service was being used more than 100 times a day - plus laptops for deprived schoolchildren in the county to do enable them to continue their education from home. He also oversaw the delivery of thousands of free bottles of water to front-line workers in the area, and offered the vulnerable and elderly free lifts to get to hospital.

“The Cabinet Office phoned me to tell me I had won the award,” Rowhi told the Cambridge Independent. “That was mid-May. They said it was for my charity work - to be honest I was really surprised, I never thought I’d be awarded an MBE. I’ve always done charity work but it’s not about how it’s seen from the outside, it’s never been in my mind to receive an award, it’s an award not just for me but my wife and daughter, the staff, the drivers - it’s a team effort, and it needs teamwork to succeed.

“I plan to have a celebration with the staff to say thank you for their hard work because it’s about them, not just me.”

Is he looking forward to collecting his award when the restrictions permit?

“Yes, they said they will write to me for an event at Buckingham Palace and I look forward to attending with my wife and daughter.”

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)

Carol Aston - police staff, designing out crime officer, Cambridgeshire Constabulary - for services to policing and the community in Ramsey during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Huntingdon)

Joanne Balmer - chief executive officer, Oakland Care - for services to social care during Covid-19 (Huntingdon)

Peter Dee - for services to the community in Duxford (Duxford)

Peter has been honoured primarily for his work in helping to construct the Duxford Community Centre, which opened last year after about 10 years in the making.

He said: “I guess how I feel is an easy one - which is hugely honoured and mightily embarrassed all at the same time

“Honoured because it’s wonderful - a great accolade - and embarrassed because I think that central to me getting the award was the construction of a community centre. We didn’t have a community in Duxford and now we have one.

“But you can’t complete a project as complex as that without lots and lots of other people being involved. That’s where the embarrassment comes from - it feels a bit lonely, whereas the project actually was a big group one in reality, as these things always are.”

Peter, who worked marketing Johnnie Walker whisky all over the world before his retirement, added: “It’s always been a nice village but it’s a better village now as a consequence - it [the centre] has become a social hub and a central area where people gather.

“It’s generally contributed to the village positivity, I think - a sense of community building. I’m proud of the project.”

Clare Hawkins - head of nursing, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group - for services to nursing during the Covid-19 pandemic (Huntingdon)

Rev Anne Rigelsford - for services to the community in Cambridge (Cambridge)

Anne - who now goes by her real name of Ank - works at St Giles’ Church as the assistant priest and has done a lot of work with homelessness and refugee charities.

She said: “It came as a big surprise to me… It’s for service to the community, although I don’t feel I’ve done anything very special.

“I have done several things but I still feel, ‘why me?’” she said. “To be honest, I feel a bit embarrassed by the whole thing - but quite pleased as well.”

Before becoming ordained about 20 years ago, Ank taught at several different schools in Cambridge and has worked with Guides and Brownies.

“I’ve run playgroups and all kinds of other things as well,” she added. “But nothing extraordinary, I must admit. I’ve done what came my way.”

Ank moved to the UK from the Netherlands in 1967, and for most of the time since has lived on Castle Hill.

Mohammed Saeed - vice chairman, Community First, Peterborough - for services to the community in Peterborough (Peterborough)

Read more

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: University of Cambridge Primary School teaching assistant Aimee Durning awarded MBE

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: Leading University of Cambridge conservation scientist Prof William Sutherland made CBE

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021: Eight AstraZeneca staff honoured for work during Covid-19 pandemic

Queen’s New Year Honours 2021: All those honoured in Cambridgeshire as Prof Simon Baron-Cohen receives a knighthood

Queen’s Birthday Honours and Covid honours 2020: All the Cambridgeshire recipients including Sam Davies, Julia Gog and Chris Jenkin

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