Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Photo by The Royal Family

Two Southport people have been recognised in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021 which was published today. 

David Hunt, the Head of Vaccine Operations at AstraZeneca, was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to UK Healthcare and the Covid-19 Response.

Rhian Monteith, the Founder of The High Intensity User Programme, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to People Who Access the NHS. 

David Hunt was one of eight AstraZeneca employees who were included in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List, recognised for their outstanding achievements in UK life sciences, manufacturing and supporting the UK and global response to the current pandemic.

Since early 2020 when the true scale of the pandemic became clear, AstraZeneca has committed to harnessing and sharing its scientific knowledge and expertise in the development of diagnostics and medicines. During the pandemic, equal importance has been placed on ensuring patients in the UK and across the world continue to access other critical AstraZeneca treatments including those for cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

AstraZeneca Executive Vice-President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, Sir Mene Pangalos, said: “I’m delighted that eight of my colleagues have been awarded these special honours by Her Majesty. “Equally, I’m incredibly proud of all 81,000+ AstraZeneca employees globally for the role they have played in responding to this pandemic. Many have worked around the clock in the past 12 months and have put their lives on hold to commit to a bigger humanitarian cause, positively impacting the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe.”

Rhian Monteith also founded Think Outs, a group of people who have come together to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Think Outs is a training, coaching and consultancy company which finds new and different solutions to entrenched problems and emerging challenges.

Key figures from the UK’s Covid vaccine programme, and community volunteers who helped during the pandemic, lead the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Oxford vaccine developer Prof Sarah Gilbert and the former chair of the UK vaccine taskforce Kate Bingham are both recognised with damehoods.

They are joined by TV chef Prue Leith and choreographer Arlene Phillips, while actor Jonathan Pryce is knighted.

England footballer Raheem Sterling is appointed MBE.

He receives the award for services to racial equality in sport.

Overall, 1,129 people are on the list issued by the Cabinet Office.

Singer Lulu and broadcaster Sue Barker become CBEs, and veteran performer Engelbert Humperdinck is appointed MBE for services to music.

Also in the showbiz world, actress Ruth Wilson, who stars as Mrs Coulter in book-based fantasy drama His Dark Materials, becomes an MBE for services to drama.

But it is the hundreds who have dedicated themselves to tackling the coronavirus response – from caring neighbours, frontline and community heroes, to those supporting the UK recovery – who make up the majority of the list.

This continues a trend set in both the New Year Honours and the delayed Birthday Honours in October, which is expected to continue “for many rounds to come”, according to the Cabinet Office.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the list was a way of paying tribute “to all those who have gone above and beyond in their service to this country”.

He said the pandemic had seen “countless examples of everyday heroes”, adding: “We should take heart from the stories of those receiving honours today and be inspired by their courage and kindness. May they be a reminder of all that we can achieve when we come together as a society.”

Prof Gilbert, who becomes a dame, is recognised on the list alongside six Oxford University colleagues involved in the creation of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been given to tens of millions of people around the world.

She said it was important to recognise “the large number of people who worked very hard to get this vaccine developed, manufactured, tested in trials… and now the people working on the vaccine rollout”.

Venture capitalist Ms Bingham is similarly honoured after overseeing the procurement of the millions of vaccine doses now being offered to the nation.

She told the BBC she was “humbled”, and that she hoped her legacy would inspire more women to pursue careers in the science sector.

There is also further recognition for the success of the UK’s vaccination programme.

A knighthood is awarded to Prof Andrew Pollard, professor of paediatric infection at the University of Oxford, for services to public health particularly during Covid-19.

Ian McCubbin, manufacturing expert on the Vaccine Taskforce Steering Committee, Vaccine Taskforce, and Mark Proctor, global supply strategy director at AstraZeneca, are appointed CBE.

Meanwhile, Divya Chadha Manek becomes an OBE for her work in the research and development of vaccines and the resulting clinical trials.

She said the honour felt like “a real nod to clinical research which may not always get the spotlight it deserves”.

Prof Linda Bauld is made an OBE for “guiding the public health response to, and public understanding of, Covid-19”. The Edinburgh University behavioural scientist, has been a regular face on TV screens and an adviser to the Scottish Parliament’s Covid-19 committee.

A wealth of honours also go to acknowledging the people who found ways to make a difference throughout the pandemic – from running free taxis for key workers to making bottles of hand sanitiser.

British Empire Medals go to brother and sister John Brownhill and Amanda Guest, who were inspired to set up Food4Heroes – which delivered food from local chefs to NHS frontline staff – after watching Yorkshire nurse Dawn Bilborough’s viral video reaction after facing empty shelves at the end of a long shift.

They have since delivered more than 200,000 meals to the NHS, and are now looking at setting up community cafés, with the hope that they could provide work for the unemployed.

“You see in a time of crisis the strengths of humanity, I think,” Mr Brownhill said.

A BEM also goes to Rhys Mallows, 25, from South Glamorgan, who repurposed his whiskey distillery to produce more than one million bottles of hand sanitiser for the NHS, key workers and the general public.

“When you see that need in a community… if you’ve got an ability to make a difference when very few can, I think you have to make that decision,” he said.

Michael Taggart, strategic domestic abuse officer for North Wales Police, is appointed MBE for services to victims of domestic abuse.

He has supported victims of domestic abuse throughout his career, and his work highlighting the hidden victims of these crimes has become even more important in light of coronavirus restrictions.

During the pandemic, he organised a campaign to reach out to potential victims of abuse, involving partnership with commercial businesses such as Tesco’s home delivery service, food banks and pharmacies across North Wales.

Mr Taggart, whose mother was murdered by his stepfather in 1997 when he was just 15, said it was “incredible” to see where his work had got him but that it was “somewhat bittersweet”.

“Although mum is not here, she’s obviously here in spirit, but I’m sure she would be very proud,” he said.

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips said her damehood recognised “how important dance is to people”, while Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith said being honoured for doing something she loves was “just the icing on the cake”.

Actor Jonathan Pryce, who will play the late Duke of Edinburgh in the final seasons of The Crown, said he was “proud” to receive his knighthood, adding: “That the UK continues to honour those that work in the arts, acknowledges the great contribution artists make to the way we live our lives.”

His long career includes award-winning theatre roles in London and New York, and performances in Hollywood hits including Evita and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Of his MBE, Engelbert Humperdinck said the news had “really brought such a spark to light the flame once again to continue to do what I love…sing”.

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com


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