Norwich and Norfolk figures on Queen’s Birthday Honours list

The city's schools, colleges, children's centres, university and research park will be beaming with pride today after a host of key Norwich figures and unsung-heroes were among those named in the Queen's Birthday Honours,

Among the community stalwarts to get recognition for their years of hard work and dedication was Di Burroughs, pastoral care manager at West Earlham Junior School, who was made an MBE for services to education.

The 50-year-old, who has worked at the Scarnell Road school for 13 years, said she had been convinced it was a hoax when the letter arrived a few weeks ago.

'I did a lot of research on the internet before I responded,' she said. 'I didn't believe it.'

The modest mother-of-two insisted she had no idea why she had been put forward for the honour, because she was 'just doing my job', but admitted she was said by others to deal with 'all the problems and issues' at the school.

Mrs Burroughs, who lives in West Earlham, helps pupils work though their problems – whether that is a disagreement with another child, behavioural problems or a youngster not taking responsibility for their actions.

She said: 'I love the school and I love the kids – they're a brilliant bunch of kids. I've worked here a lot of years and it's been hard at times – we've been in special measures and come out of special measures – but I just love it.'

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Also recognised in the birthday honours was Sian Larrington, services manager for the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust's children's centres, and former leader at the Bowthorpe, West Earlham and Costessey Children's Centre.

She was made an MBE for services to children and said she was 'absolutely delighted and really proud to accept the honour'.

It recognises the 47-year-old's time in charge at the Bowthorpe children's centre, at Humbleyard, which was last year rated outstanding by inspectors.

She said the passion of the staff at the centre, and the efforts of workers, parents and children, had succeeded in substantially improving the lives of the youngsters.

Ms Larrington, who lives in the Swaffham area, insisted the MBE was a reflection of the entire team's work.

'It really recognises the value and the importance the children's centres have across Norfolk in improving outcomes for children.'

At Easton College, principal David Lawrence was today made an OBE for services to land-based further and higher education in Norfolk.

He said the honour topped off a 'phenomenal year', which had also seen him made president of the Royal Norfolk Show.

Mr Lawrence, who has worked at the college since 1989 and been principal since 1992, was also keen to stress his achievements had been part of a team effort. 'I'm very humbled to receive it but I do take it as an acknowledgement of my colleagues' efforts and all my staff,' he said.

'People are proud of this institution and that's really, really important. At the start it was very hard work – it lost its way a bit – but after 20 years of collective effort, people are now saying 'look what we've done'.

'I have been very, very fortunate to be allowed to do this for as long as I have.'

Prof Victor Morris from the Institute of Food Research has been made an MBE for services to food science.

At a time when emphasis is being placed on nutrition and diet, Prof Morris is being recognised for decades of dedication to the understanding of food structures and their effect on the body.

But for the 67-year-old scientist, this is more than just personal recognition.

'I hope all the people who I have worked with see it as recognition for what they have done as well,' said Mr Morris

'The format of the awards seems to say that it is for a contribution to society, and as a scientist you work and work and you hope that what you are doing makes a difference. This suggests that we have.'

Norfolk is also home to some of the first people to be awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for 20 years.

The accolade was dropped by John Major back in 1992 but has been re-introduced by David Cameron to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Among the recipients is Carol Jacobs from the University of East Anglia.

The BEM is awarded for civil or military service, and is, in Mrs Jacobs case, recognition for her work with student support services at the university.

The 59-year-old, from Bawdeswell, said she felt as though the award was for 'hands on work', recognising people who 'just do their job'.

Mrs Jacobs said: 'I am chuffed about it, there is no getting away from that.

'You plod along doing what you do and this comes along. To know that what I have been doing all these years has been noticed is amazing.'

Derrick Vernall, of Horning, is also among the recipients of the BEM for services to his community.

He said his volunteer work as chairman of the village hall committee, reviving the Horning Bowls Club, and organising improvements to the village hall and a host of social activities including the recent jubilee celebrations, were simply a way to 'keep him out of mischief'.

The 76-year-old added: 'I'm proud. It came straight out of the blue.'

Other honours recipients in Norfolk include Brian Potter, chairman of Potters Leisure Resort in Great Yarmouth, who was made MBE for services to tourism; Kit Martin, of the Prince's Regeneration Trust and based in Gunton, near Cromer, who becomes a CBE for his services to conservation; Anna Gill, former co-chairman of Norfolk Children's Learning Difficulty and Disability Board, who is made an OBE for services to children and families; and Simon Moores, of Kettering, near Wymondham, and founder of the Ellerdale Trust which gives financial support to charities supporting young people, becomes an OBE for services to children.

Ian Duckmanton, manager of the Poppylands Sure Start Children's Centres in north Norfolk, is made an OBE for services to children and families; Alison Cox becomes an OBE for services to the community in the UK and overseas; and Martyn Price, apprenticeship ambassador, is made a MBE for services to skills.