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The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018: Who is on the list from Norfolk?

PUBLISHED: 22:30 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:13 09 June 2018

Vice-chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts, Professor John Last, has been recognised for services to higher education Picture: Denisa Ilie

Vice-chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts, Professor John Last, has been recognised for services to higher education Picture: Denisa Ilie

Denisa ILIE

People from across our county have been recognised for their contributions to health, education, business, the arts and their communities in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Professor Charles Wolfe, a professor of public health at KCL, has been made an OBE Picture: Katharyn BoudetProfessor Charles Wolfe, a professor of public health at KCL, has been made an OBE Picture: Katharyn Boudet

Professor John Last

The vice-chancellor of a Norwich university, who has been made an OBE, described it as the highlight of his career.

Professor John Last, vice-chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), was recognised for services to higher education.

Prof Last, 64, said: “I am absolutely thrilled and feel very honoured and pleased not just for myself but also the university.

Sarah Rush, from Barnham, has been awarded at British Empire Medal Picture: Nicky EllisSarah Rush, from Barnham, has been awarded at British Empire Medal Picture: Nicky Ellis

“It’s the highlight of my career to get this recognition, but it’s not just about me as an individual.”

Prof Last, who lives in Town Close, Norwich, added: “I’ve always known that whatever I’ve achieved has been done in concert with the excellent team of colleagues around me today and throughout my career.

“NUA has developed and grown since I first came here nearly a decade ago - with more students, more courses and more awards – and so I see this honour as recognition of the university’s journey and the team I am lucky enough to work alongside.”

The vice-chancellor said his partner and daughter would be accompanying him to the ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Marcella Caterina Olive-Ballestra has been made an MBE Picture: William OliveMarcella Caterina Olive-Ballestra has been made an MBE Picture: William Olive

Prof Last joined NUA in 2009, having worked in art and design higher education since 1989, and led the institution to achieve university status in 2012.

He was previously Deputy Principal at the Arts University Bournemouth.

He was elected Chair of the United Kingdom Arts and Design Institutions Association (UKADIA) in 2015.

Professor Charles Wolfe

UEA graduate and Nobel Prize winning author Kazuo Ishiguro Picture: Jeff CottendenUEA graduate and Nobel Prize winning author Kazuo Ishiguro Picture: Jeff Cottenden

A Norfolk professor of public health at a London university has been made an OBE for services to medicine.

Professor Charles Wolfe, 63, a head of school at Kings College London, has been recognised for his services to stroke and public health medicine.

Prof Wolfe, who has lived in New Buckenham, Norfolk, for 25 years said: “It’s very exciting to be recognised, both individually and as a team.

“Developing stroke care which is the focus of what I do in my work at KCL.

“My work has been around understanding what happens to someone after they have a stroke.

“One of the big things is around better rehabilitation, and my ambition is that this research really makes a difference.

“There are 100,000 new strokes a year and at least 80pc of people will have this type of support after they’ve been discharged from hospital.”

He added: “Most people thought strokes were heart attacks 20 or 30 years ago.

“There’s been a halving of the death rate over the last 30 years.

Prof Wolfe grew up in North London and trained as a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital.

He will be accompanied by his partner Richard to the investiture ceremony.

Kazuo Ishiguro

A Norwich university graduate and Nobel Prize winner has been knighted.

Kazuo Ishiguro, the author of Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day was made an OBE in 1995 and was the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017.

Mr Ishiguro joined the creative writing masters program at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 1979 and graduated the following year.

He has returned to the city over the year’s, most recently to appear at the UEA Literary Festival in 2017.

UEA vice-chancellor Professor David Richardson said: “Nothing could make us prouder at UEA than an alumnus receiving such a prestigious honour and we are all delighted for Sir Kazuo Ishiguro.

“Norwich is England’s first UNESCO City of Literature for good reason and this is in no small part due to UEA’s creative writing heritage.

“I’m sure Kazuo’s success will go on to inspire many of our current and future students and other alumni.”

Hilary Cox

North Norfolk district councillor Hilary Cox has been made an MBE.

Mrs Cox, 67, received the honour for services to local government and the community.

The former county councillor said: “I got the paperwork about four weeks ago. I just walked around my house in shock.

“It’s such an honour, such a privilege, to be given this when I was just doing what I do.”

Mrs Cox, who grew up in Mundesley, said: “My husband William was made an MBE in 2002, also for services to the community as he was a long serving fireman and lifeboatman.

“I think it’s rare for both people in a couple to be awarded it. It has been very difficult to keep it from my children though.”

Anne Rush

Community stalwart Anne Rush, known as Sarah, has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

The 79-year-old has been recognised for her services to Barnham, Thetford, where she has been a church warden and fundraiser at St Gregory’s for 40 years.

Mrs Rush also provided support to the widows and children of the 18 Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club members who died in a plane crashe outside Paris in 1974.

And for 20 years she has been a organiser for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

She said: “I have a desire to help other people where I can.

“I believe the more you put into life the more you get out of it.

“I am obviously delighted and very humbled to be accepting this honour.”

Marcella Olive-Ballestra

A woman from Thurne has been made an MBE in recognition of more than 20 years of service to people with Asperger syndrome.

Marcella Olive-Ballestra, 72, was made an MBE for her work in founding the charity Asperger East Anglia.

Mrs Olive-Ballestra, who has Italian parents and was educated in the Netherlands, has lived in the village between Norwich and Great Yarmouth for more than 40 years.

She adopted a baby who was extremely challenging to raise, and it wasn’t until he was 14 years old that he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.

Mrs Olive-Ballestra said: “He was an extremely difficult baby. The doctors said we were doing everything right as parents and nothing was wrong, but needless to say, he is now 37 and he has still got it.”

Following on from the difficulties she faced, Mrs Olive-Ballestra set out to help others in 1996.

She said: “We initially started with a helpline which we set up in our house, but people kept ringing late at night and it got quite intrusive.

“We eventually found a little office that was basically a cupboard at Charing Cross in Norwich.”

After much tireless work, the charity was officially established in 1998, becoming the first in the region of its kind.

Asperger East Anglia has gone on to help more than 34,000 people across East Anglia and Mrs Olive-Ballestra has been instrumental in organising the hundreds of fundraisers that have helped to raise the £300,000 needed each year to keep the charity running.

The charity has subsequently been used as an example for groups setting up in Liverpool and Shropshire.

But for Mrs Olive-Ballestra, the hard-earned MBE is all about the charity.

She said: “To be quite honest, for me it is more for the charity than myself. I’m more pleased that it is putting the charity in the spotlight because it’s not about me really, I’ve never done it for that reason.”

These are the other honours recipients in our county:

• Sally Mills, from Cromer, matron and manager of Halsey House Royal British Legion care home has been made an MBE for services to ex-service personnel.

• Herbert Slaughter, from Norwich, has been awarded a BEM for services to the Royal Artillery Association and to the community in Norwich.32

• Richard Bridgman, founder of the Thetford engineering business, Warren Services, has been awarded an OBE for services to training young people.

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