Campaigning bishop from Stevenage, sports stalwart from Hitchin among those honoured in Queen’s birthday list.

Bishop Angaelos with Prince Charles

Bishop Angaelos with Prince Charles - Credit: Archant

A high-profile bishop of the Coptic Church who regularly speaks out over the fate of Christians in the Middle East is one of the people from Stevenage and North Herts honoured in the Queen’s Birthday list.

Liz Nicholl from Hitchin is the chief executive of UK Sport

Liz Nicholl from Hitchin is the chief executive of UK Sport - Credit: Archant

Bishop Angaelos is based at the Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in Stevenage’s Broadhall Way, but has a globetrotting brief and is conducting and speaking at an inaugural young adult’s convention in Vancouver, Canada, this weekend.

After news of his OBE was released, he said: “I am humbled by this award because I see it as my role and duty to advocate for religious freedom as part of my ministry.

“While I am thankful for this great honour, it also comes with a sense of sadness that in the 21st century we still need to defend people’s God-given rights and freedoms in this way.

“I consider this an award to every person who has worked with and supported me along the way and pray that God rewards and blesses them for all they have done and all they will continue to do. I must also express my sincere gratitude to the Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron for considering this cause worthy of such public acknowledgement.”

Judi Billing

Judi Billing - Credit: Archant

Also honoured is former international netball player Liz Nicholl from Hitchin, who has been awarded the CBE for services to sport.

Liz was chief executive of England Netball, which has its headquarters in the town centre, for 16 years and she been part of UK Sport since 1999.

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She’s now chief executive and has played a pioneering role in the development of the National Lottery funded World Class Programme that supports the UK‘s top Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

She said: “Having received an MBE for services to netball in 2000 and an OBE for services to sport in 2005 I thought that I’d already had more acknowledgements and visits to the Palace than I really deserve so this came as a huge and wonderful surprise.

Sharon Bell, left, with Caroline Haskins of the Stevenage Community Trust

Sharon Bell, left, with Caroline Haskins of the Stevenage Community Trust - Credit: Archant

“I feel incredibly privileged and proud to accept this very special honour as an acknowledgment of the work of my committed and talented UK Sport colleagues, past and present, who work tirelessly to support our athletes, sports and partners to deliver medal success and make the nation proud.”

UK Sport chair Rod Carr added: “Liz’s understanding of what it takes to win, coupled with her deep knowledge of the UK’s high performance sport system and passion to see our athletes fulfilling their potential, has hugely contributed to the outstanding Olympic and Paralympic achievements the nation has enjoyed in recent years.“

“At a time when sports administration and governance has never been under greater scrutiny, Liz’s integrity, consistency and diligence is an example to us all.”

Also honoured are Sharon Bell from Stevenage, who becomes an MBE for her work as manager of the town’s Broadwater Children’s Centre, and Judi Billing, who has represented Hitchin on both North Herts District Council and Herts County Council for many years and recently stepped down as leader of the district council’s Labour group. She has also been awarded the MBE.