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

From the chief architect behind the first ‘Lighthouse Lab’ running Covid-19 tests, to the mathematician whose models of how infectious disease spreads proved vital to the government, a host of people from the Cambridge region feature in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020.

Dr Tony Cox and Prof Julia Gog are among those receiving awards this year for their response to Covid-19.

Some of those in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2020
Some of those in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2020

Community figures including Sam Davies, of Queen Edith’s in Cambridge, and Christopher Jenkins, chair of the homelessness charity It Takes a City, are also honoured.

From the business world, Martin Frost, co-founder of CMR Surgical, and Dr Cecily Morrison, of Microsoft Research, are rewarded, while in academia, Professor Sarah Elizabeth Worthington QC, who becomes a dame, and Dr Giles Yeo, are recognised.

From the world of sport, there are British Empire Medals for Cambridge United groundsman Ian Darler and Dr Sharyn Bord, of Cambridge Dive Team.

Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Carrie Philbin and Royal Papworth Hospital’s chief nurse Josie Rudman are among those made an MBE.

Some 1,495 honours are awarded across the country, including 414 for Covid-19 responses.

Healthcare and social care workers make up 14 per cent of the list, and 72 per cent of those honoured work for their local community.

Among the famous names to receive honours are Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, who receives an MBE for services to vulnerable children in the UK during Covid-19, and Joe Wicks and Mr Motivator (Derrick Evans), who receive MBEs for their accessible, live workouts during the pandemic.

There are damehoods for actress Maureen Lipman, and food writer and Great British Bake Off judge Mary Berry, and a knighthood for Poirot actor David Suchet.

There are CBEs for Professor Brian Cox, TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, actor Adrian Lester and singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading, while rugby legend Gareth Thomas receives a CBE, writer Sally Wainwright is made an OBE, and former England cricketer Darren Gough is awarded an MBE.

Here are all the details of every Cambridgeshire person honoured in the list.


Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Dr Antony Cox OBE

Dr Tony Cox, of the UK BioCentre. Picture: Wellcome Sanger Institute, GRL (42637810)
Dr Tony Cox, of the UK BioCentre. Picture: Wellcome Sanger Institute, GRL (42637810)

Dr Antony Cox, from Cambridge, has been made an OBE for services to science and the Covid-19 response as a result of his work on the Lighthouse Labs, which are responsible for analysing coronavirus tests given to the public.

The UK Biocentre in Milton Keynes, where he is CEO, became the site of the first of five Lighthouse Labs that provide a diagnostic testing network.

With scientists rushing to volunteer for the task, the challenge was to scale up rapidly the number of swabs that could be analysed.

Within days of the request, the lab was testing hundreds of swabs manually.

But a different method was required.

“Even with an army of volunteers on 12-hour shift patterns, we knew that a manual testing process would only ever get us so far. To test tens of thousands of Covid-19 swabs every day requires an automated process - a seismic shift to industrial scale,” said Dr Cox.

Now up to 40,000 can be handled a day through automation. The centre has more than 300 scientists and volunteers working 24/7 on Covid-19 testing.

Dr Cox’s career started as a molecular biologist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where he completed his PhD and worked for nine years studying plant systematics and evolutionary biology.

He joined the Wellcome Sanger Institute as scientific webmaster where he was promoted to senior group leader and then the head of DNA pipeline development, managing a multi-disciplinary team of laboratory R&D scientists, software developers, data analysts and process improvement specialists.

Together they developed and improved key large-scale DNA data generating pipelines for the Sanger Institute.

Tony, 54, joined UK Biocentre, in January 2020 and focuses on delivering high capacity, high quality scientific sample processing services that keep the site at the forefront of research support.

Professor Julia Gog OBE

Prof Julia Gog, of the University of Cambridge
Prof Julia Gog, of the University of Cambridge

A professor of mathematical biology at the University of Cambridge, Julia Gog has been made an OBE for services to academia and the Covid-19 response

Prof Gog , who is also a fellow of Queens’ College, Cambridge, uses mathematical modelling to explain the spread of infection diseases.

Throughout the pandemic, she has provided expert advice on modelling and Covid-19 to the government’s SAGE committee, and played a key role in advising the government on its plans for reopening schools.

As lead modelling representative and co-deputy chair of the Children’s Task and Finish working group (TFC), a sub-group of SAGE, she shaped and co-ordinated modelling advice on how schools could reopen - input that was pivotal to the Department for Education’s response and in developing principles for future interventions.

The 44-year-old also advised another of SAGE’s sub-groups - the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling, Operational (SPI-M-O).

A member of the Cambridge Immunology Network and the Cambridge Infectious Diseases Interdisciplinary Research Centre, Prof Gog and her team were behind the UK’s largest citizen science experiment in 2018, in collaboration with the BBC. Using location data from mobile phones, they mapped how a pandemic influenza might spread across the UK - a prescient move.

The massive dataset from the experiment was the largest and most detailed of its kind, and was used in response to Covid-19.

Prof Gog, who is based in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, told the Cambridge Independent: “It’s hugely rewarding to see so many scientists recognised in this way. While I am of course thankful for this personal honour, science is a team pursuit, and I am grateful to so many colleagues for their work and support particularly during this year. While there are still many challenges ahead, we will continue to do all we can to help bring this pandemic to an end.”

Prof Gog has a role on the steering committee of the Royal Society’s Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic (RAMP) initiative and is involved in other groups - such as the Isaac Newton Institute and Virtual Forum for Knowledge Exchange in Mathematical Sciences - which have helped to establish working relationships between SAGE and the wider scientific community.

Ashleigh Linsdell OBE

The founder and co-ordinator of For the Love of Scrubs, from Brampton, earned an OBE for services to the NHS during the Covid-19 response.

She saw the dire need for PPE while working in A&E at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire. She began to make scrubs and appealed for others to join her.

Within a couple of months, 148 groups were doing the same, and a fundraising campaign raised more than £1million to buy fabric.

David Thomas OBE

The principal of Jane Austen College in Norwich, who lives in Cambridge, is curriculum lead of Oak National Academy, the online classroom created in April 2020 as a rapid response to the coronavirus outbreak. More than 40 teachers and colleagues from education organisations came together to support schools’ efforts to keep children learning. He earned his OBE for services to education, particularly during Covid-19.

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Samantha Davies MBE

Sam Davies from Smarter Cambridge Transport. Picture: Keith Heppell. (34543570)
Sam Davies from Smarter Cambridge Transport. Picture: Keith Heppell. (34543570)

Sam Davies has been made an MBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the community in Queens Edith’s, Cambridge, particularly during Covid-19.

At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, she arranged for the Queen Edith's Community Forum, a local neighbourhood events group which she chairs, to lead on a community response programme.

She subsequently persuaded local churches to join and in five days they produced and distributed a leaflet to 5,000 homes encouraging residents to offer help, such as shopping and collecting prescriptions, to any neighbours who may have been unable - or afraid - to leave their house. These are examples of just some of the work Sam has been doing.

Sam, 51, said she was "absolutely flabbergasted" on hearing the news, but was keen to stress that it's been a team effort.

"This work has been going on for six months," she said, "and we all passionately believe in what we're doing - and to get that kind of recognition out of the blue was really quite a jaw-dropping moment."

Sam finds that the work she's been doing has helped her to remain positive in these uncertain times.

"The Queen Edith's Food Hub runs on a Saturday morning, and that's the best three hours of my week, actually, because I get to talk to the volunteers, I get to talk to the people who come…” she said.

"There's a really strong community now that we've seen evolve there, and the conversations we have are fantastic and everyone's looking out for each other however they can best do that."

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire

George Devine BEM

George earned his British Empire Medal for services to the community of Fen Ditton during Covid-19.

Christopher Jenkin BEM

Chris Jenkin from It Takes a City homeless charity. Picture: Keith Heppell. (42535305)
Chris Jenkin from It Takes a City homeless charity. Picture: Keith Heppell. (42535305)

The chair of It Takes a City charity has earned his British Empire Medal for services to the homeless in Cambridge during Covid-19.

In 2018, Chris was the driving force behind setting up It Takes a City (ITaC) - a group of voluntary organisations, businesses, faith groups and individuals committed to sharing the city’s prosperity more widely, with a focus on ending local homelessness.

Chris says that It Takes A City Cambridge, which was set up as a “proper organisation” last year, was not established to provide services to anyone, but to coordinate the set-up of new services which others would then provide.

“That was all going fine and then of course Covid struck,” said Chris, “which to some extent stopped some of the things we were doing because it was difficult to meet. Because everybody was coming off the street under the ‘Everybody In’ initiative, the thought was that if everybody comes in and stays in, what’s the point of street-based activity?

“We were looking at the situation where there isn’t accommodation for everybody and therefore can we provide additional resources and get more people off the street? Obviously that changed with Covid, in that suddenly, in the city, 150 rough sleepers were quickly found accommodation in hotels – that had been our dream for years!”

Chris is pleased with the way the authorities have reacted. “I pay huge credit to our own local authority in Cambridge, and the county council,” he said. “They picked this up big time, completely in line with the government’s intention to eliminate rough sleeping, and they’re going out of their way to make it happen – and we’re very pleased to be able to provide some support to that.”

Geoffrey Norris BEM

For the last five years, Geoffrey has been a homes shopping delivery driver for Asda in Wisbech. He earned his British Empire Medal for services to the Covid-19 response after taking on the role of looking after vulnerable and elderly customers by doing their shopping for them on his days off and delivering it in his own car.

He sought volunteers from among his colleagues to help out in their own time, took orders by email and phone with the help of his wife or daughter, and customers contacting the store directly were passed on to Geoff. Some of those he helped were from a long way away and concerned about how to get food for vulnerable parents who had no internet.

He even organised a socially-distant 90th birthday surprise for one customer, working with colleagues to decorate the outside of her bungalow with balloons, bringing her cake and flowers and reading out birthday messages from her family in New Zealand before singing happy birthday.

Elizabeth White BEM

Elizabeth earned her British Empire Medal for services to the community in Longstanton, during Covid-19.


Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE)

Professor Dame Sarah Elizabeth Worthington QC

Prof Sarah Worthington, of the University of Cambridge, becomes a dame (42637804)
Prof Sarah Worthington, of the University of Cambridge, becomes a dame (42637804)

Prof Sarah Worthington was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to English private law.

Since 2011, she has been the Downing professor of the laws of England at the University of Cambridge, where she is also deputy vice-chancellor, and is described as one of the most prolific, original and influential academics working in the broad field of private law.

She said: “I feel surprised, delighted and overwhelmed by the honour. It’s wonderful to see legal research recognised in this way, especially research in private law. But research endeavours are never solo projects. I’ve been immensely fortunate to have met and worked with a lot of very warm and clever people who have helped me in all sorts of ways. Thank you to all of them, as I continue to learn from their example.”

Between 1997 and 2011, she worked in the Department of Law at the London School of Economics, from 2003 as professor, and also served as pro-director for research and external relations.

In 2012 she helped found Cambridge Private Law Centre, of which she is a director. The centre promotes informed debate across all branches of private law including obligations, property, family and private international law.

Much of her academic writing is driven by a desire to address legal difficulties that concern her. Her book on equity (2003, 2nd edition 2006) provides a rational and principled overview of the core concepts of equity, persuasively arguing the case for a coherent substantive integration of common law and equity to resolve controversial questions raised by our dual system of law.

Decisions taken by the Supreme Court in the last five years seem increasingly to reflect concepts in the much-cited book.

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Kofi Adjepong-Boateng CBE

The chair of the economic justice programme at Open Society Foundations, from Cambridge, earned a CBE for services to philanthropy

Martin Frost CBE

Martin Frost, co-founder of CMR Surgical. Picture: Keith Heppell
Martin Frost, co-founder of CMR Surgical. Picture: Keith Heppell

The co-founder and director of Impington-based CMR Surgical was made a CBE for services to robotics, having helped the company take its Versius surgical robot into hospitals around the world, including the NHS. The company is now valued at more than $1bn .

See our full story on Martin.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Professor Nicholas Daniel OBE

The oboist, from St Neots, becomes an OBE for services to music.

Mark Enzer OBE

Mark Enzer, from Huntingdon, chief technical officer for engineering consultancy Mott MacDonald, has been made an OBE for services to the national infrastructure.

He is chair of the Digital Framework Task Group, run by the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Digital Built Britain, which brings together experts from industry, academia and government to advise on how data, AI and machine learning can help predict and meet the needs of the UK's infrastructure.

Professor Sheena Radford OBE

Prof Radford, an honorary fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge, was made an OBE for services to molecular biology research. She is based at the University of Leeds.

Professor Stefan Reif OBE

Professor Stefan Reif, a fellow of St John's College, Cambridge
Professor Stefan Reif, a fellow of St John's College, Cambridge

The founder and lately director of Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit at the University of Cambridge, was made an OBE for services to scholarship. He has been a fellow of St John’s College since 1988.

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Haydn Jakes MBE

Former Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group apprentice Haydn Jakes has been appointed an MBE, for his achievements as an aircraft engineering apprentice and winning gold in the ‘Skills Olympics’ in Russia last year.

The 24-year-old, from Cambridge, was an airframe and propulsion apprentice at Marshall ADG from 2013-17.

He beat 16 others from around the world last August to win the gold medal for Great Britain in the WorldSkills International Competition, in the aircraft maintenance category.

“It’s really exciting to be appointed this honour by The Queen,” said Haydn, who is in the second year of an aerospace engineering degree at Nottingham University.

“I wasn’t expecting it but I really appreciate it. It feels like further accreditation for the achievements in the WorldSkills competition and recognition for all the effort it took to get there. It’s amazing and I hope it inspires others to go for it.”

He was one of 1,300 young apprentices from 63 countries competing in 56 skills during the four-day event. He competed in five tasks in the championship finals, which were the 45th biennial event to promote vocational training skills.

Marshall ADG continues to offer Haydn access to mentors and experts, along with time in the hangars to master his skills.

Donna Lynas MBE

The director of Wysing Arts Centre, from Waterbeach, was made an MBE for services to the arts.

Dr Cecily Morrison MBE

Dr Cecily Morrison. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Cecily Morrison. Picture: Keith Heppell

Dr Cecily Morrison, who is principal researcher in human computer interaction communication at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, has been made an MBE for services to inclusive design.

Her work helps people with health issues and disabilities and is inspired by her own experience. Dr Morrison’s child was born with blindness, which gave her an appreciation of the importance of inclusion in design.

She told the Cambridge Independent that her MBE is “an honour for inclusive design and a recognition of how important inclusive design in our society”.

Working in interdisciplinary collaborations to repurpose and integrate basic technologies to solve real-world problems, she developed and led a cross-discipline team on Project Torino and CodeJumper, an inclusive physical programming language for children with low or no vision.

It gives access for children aged 7-11 to computational thinking skills and basic programming concepts and allows students to participate in coding through physical touch of specially-designed objects that integrate with computers and mimic coding practices.

Feedback loops are created by connecting and turning knobs on physical objects, with the outcome played back over audio. Her current research - Project Tokyo - develops technologies to help blind and low vision people understand who is in their immediate vicinity.

Carrie Anne Philbin MBE

The director of educator support at the Raspberry Pi Foundation has been made an MBE for services to education.

Carrie Anne, from Great Cambourne, has helped to teach children and teachers alike how to code in the Python and Scratch programming languages using Raspberry Pi computers.

Chair of the Computing At School (CAS) diversity and inclusion group, #CASInclude, she also wrote the computing book Adventures in Raspberry Pi in 2013 for teenagers and runs the YouTube channel Geek Gurl Diaries. In 2017 she was the host for Crash Course Computer Science, and in 2019, she was 17th in Computer Weekly's 50 Most Influential Women in UK Tech shortlist for her role at the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Josie Rudman MBE

Royal Papworth Hospital tour of the building as it starts to take life, Josie Rudman Chief Nurse. Picture: Keith Heppell. (6787115)
Royal Papworth Hospital tour of the building as it starts to take life, Josie Rudman Chief Nurse. Picture: Keith Heppell. (6787115)

The chief nurse at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has been made an MBE for services to nursing, patient experience and patient safety.

Stephen Posey, chief executive at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are incredibly proud to see our chief nurse Josie Rudman receive an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Josie worked so hard to deliver a safe move to our new hospital last year and played a vital role in our response to Covid-19. She is a real credit to Royal Papworth Hospital and the wider NHS.”

Josie, who is director for infection prevention and control, has also been aiding NHS England via a temporary secondment.

Dr Giles Yeo MBE

Dr Giles Yeo. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dr Giles Yeo. Picture: Keith Heppell

The principal research associate at the University of Cambridge has been made an MBE for services to research and communication and engagement.

Based at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, he explores the brain’s role in our body weight.

He told the Cambridge Independent: “I can assure you that this was entirely unexpected. Because it was in times of Covid, the notification, instead of being on expensive official stationery, came via email, and I initially thought it was a phishing scam! Anyway, it wasn’t, and I’m deeply honoured to be recognised for my contributions to communicating and engagement in research. I am grateful to be working at an institution which has allowed me to breathe and to follow my passion.”

One of the experts who appeared on BBC Two’s Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, he looked at the causes of heartburn, asked if ‘man ‘flu’ really exists and went vegan for a month.

His research involves looking at how cells in the brain respond to hormones circulating in the blood, particularly those such as insulin, which are produced in response to the food we eat. He makes use of tissue from the Cambridge Brain Bank, to which thousands of people have donated their brains since it opened in 1975.

“While you can argue that obesity is a disease of ‘choice’, in the sense that we can always say no, some people will always find it difficult to say no because they are more driven to eat,” he said of his work. “It’s in their genes or in cues from the environment around them. When it comes to finding a solution, there will be no one size that fits all.”

He feels passionately about the way society judges those who overeat.

“Our reaction is ‘I can say no to food, so why can’t you?’ Calling people out is awful. It’s like saying ‘Why are you so tall? Be shorter!’ or ‘Why are you breathing so much? Breathe less!’ We don’t take into account that everyone is different.”

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire

Dr Sharyn Bord BEM

The Cambridge Dive Team president, from Impington, has earned a British Empire Medal for voluntary service to diving in Cambridgeshire.

“I’m very proud,” said Sharyn, whose association with the club goes back to the early 1960s.

“I feel a bit embarrassed by it to be honest because there are so many people that do such a lot of hard work.”

See our full story on Sharyn.

Ian Darler BEM

Ian Darler on the pitch at Cambridge United. Picture: Keith Heppell
Ian Darler on the pitch at Cambridge United. Picture: Keith Heppell

The Cambridge United Football Club groundsman and stadium manager has earned a British Empire Medal for his services to the U’s and his charity work with Cambridge Charity Fundraisers.

“I’m blown away. I feel really honoured, especially even more so in the current circumstances,” said Ian, who has been with the U's for 42 years.

“Having so many friends who work within the NHS and understand what they’re going through at the present time, I think they are the sort of people you feel should be getting these awards.

See our full story on Ian.

Jacqueline Gavin BEM

Trans activist Jacqueline Gavin, from Huntingdonshire, has earned a British Empire Medal for services to gender equality

The 53-year-old has been a driving force behind improving transgender issues across the workplace.

An active campaigner for the trans community since 1983, following her own transition, she has served as a speaker and ambassador for several LGBT charities to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and to highlight the importance of eradicating homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools.

In October 2017, she organised a landmark conference, This is Us, in Milton Keynes to highlight LGBT issues in the workplace.

A former civil servant, she was the first ever chair of the Transgender Network within the Department for Work and Pensions.

Her work was nationally recognised at the 2015 Excellence in Diversity Awards, and she was Diversity Champion at the British LGBT Awards in 2016. Jacqui also earned a Points of Life award from the Prime Minister in February 2019.

Christine O’Reilly BEM

Christine, from Ely, earned her British Empire Medal for services to the community in Cambridge.

Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal

Paul Henry QAM

Paul Henry, of East of England Ambulance Service Trust
Paul Henry, of East of England Ambulance Service Trust

Paul’s operational leadership at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust has earned him a Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal.

It comes 37 years after Paul joined the NHS on October 10, 1983.

Now deputy director of operations support with EEAST, he started his career with Norfolk Ambulance Service and went on to become one of the county’s first paramedics in 1987 before taking responsibility for the training and development of all of ambulance staff in Norfolk four years’ later.

His dedication to patients, colleagues and his profession was recognised in 2000 when he became one of the first paramedics to join the board of the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine, helping to develop regulatory procedures for the profession.

He has held a number of senior roles at EEAST and taken responsibility for major projects including developing business continuity plans to mitigate the threat of the millennium bug and driving infrastructure improvements, such as introducing new make-ready services and a new fleet of ambulances over the past year.

”I was absolutely delighted to hear the news – it was such a lovely surprise,” said Paul, who lives in Norwich. “There are so many people in the ambulance service who are deserving of an award, so to be honoured in this way is absolutely fantastic.

“I have fulfilled many varied roles during nearly 40 years with the service, including clinical and operational positions, as well as roles in training and support services. This has given me a significant insight into the way nearly every department works, which has stood me in good stead throughout my career.

“I am particularly proud of my ability to shape positive change and keep pace with developments in the wider service while always making sure I am ready for the next challenge.”

Marcus Bailey, chief operating officer with EEAST, said: “We are delighted for Paul and incredibly proud that he has been awarded this well-deserved accolade.

“He has dedicated 37 years to the ambulance service, during which time he has devoted his energy and ability to serving patients and helping the trust to progress and ensure it is prepared to meet future demands.

“On behalf of everyone at EEAST, I would like to congratulate Paul on everything he has achieved during his career and thank him for his hard work and dedication.”

Read more

CMR Surgical co-founder Martin Frost made a CBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020 for bringing Versius robot to hospitals

Cambridge United stadium manager and groundsman Ian Darler awarded BEM in Queen’s Birthday Honours 202 0

Cambridge Dive Team president Sharyn Bord awarded BEM in Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020

Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019: Dr Stephen Cleobury knighted, MBE for headteacher and Darktrace pair earn OBEs

2019: Dr Jane Osbourn of AstraZeneca and UK BioIndustry Association thanks colleagues as she is made an OBE

2018: Newnham College’s Prof Mary Beard says she is '100% delighted’ to be made a dame in Queen's Birthday Honours

2018: Knighthood for Prof Christopher Dobson, master of St John’s College, in recognition of ground-breaking Alzheimer’s research

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