Queen's Birthday Honours 2019: Meet our North Herts recipients on prestigious list
PUBLISHED: 22:30 07 June 2019
Three Hitchin residents and a man who helped set up Britain's first community-owned pub in Preston are among those who have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for 2019.
Hitchin's Maggie Berry has been awarded an OBE for services to women in business and technology.
Maggie works as director for Europe for WEConnectInternational, a non-profit organisation that supports and builds networks for female-run businesses,
Her office is based in her Hitchin home and she takes pride in her local roots - despite working for an international organisation.
She describes the stats between men and women in the business world as stark, and her passion for changing this shines through.
Having worked towards empowering female entrepreneurs and businesses for 15 years, Maggie says she is "overwhelmed and chuffed to bits" at receiving an OBE.
Maggie said: "I feel very privileged to do my role. If I can support a woman in her career, or help her build a network, that's my personal drive.
"This recognition is in honour of all of them!"
Maggie plans to spend tomorrow with friends and family at Hitchin Beer and Cider Festival - but may invite her parents from Scotland to the official ceremony.
Anna Morrison, another Hitchin-based businesswoman, has been awarded a CBE for services to apprenticeships.
After 20 years in the education sector and establishing Amazing Apprenticeships in 2015, Anna has supported hundreds of thousands of young people looking for apprenticeships.
In the last two years, she has worked with nearly 4,000 secondary schools and more than 700,000 students - helping to inform them about the opportunities an apprenticeship can provide.
Anna said: "Apprenticeships bring huge opportunities to apprentices and employers alike and have the power to change lives for the better."
"I feel so privileged to have been recognised for working on something which I love" she added.
Hitchin and Harpenden MP, Bim Afolami, described Anna as among the finest people he has met.
He said: "Anna is a true pioneer. She is a leader in this field, and will be shaping future government policy for years to come."
Preston's Brian Waters has been recognised with a British Empire Medal for services to the community - having been director of The Red Lion pub when it was bought by the village in 1982.
As Britain's first community-owned pub, its groundbreaking running style led to many following in their footsteps.
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More than 180 villagers have since bought shares in the pub, with Mr Waters' continued avid fundraising efforts having made a huge impact in its success.
The 82-year-old has lived in Preston for just shy of 50 years, with close ties to Preston Cricket Club, Preston Primary School, The Preston Trust and the parish council, which he served on for 20 years - mostly as chair.
About receiving the news of his BEM, he said: "I was pleased. I'm very proud, of course."
Mr Waters hoped that this recognition would have an impact on the local community. "I've obviously done a lot for the village, but I'm not alone," he said.
"There are only 300 or so people living in Preston, it's not very big, but a lot of people do a lot.
"We all continue to do what we've been doing for the last 50 years to keep Preston as it is,"
Mr Waters is clearly proud of what The Red Lion has achieved, adding: "Yesterday, we were awarded the Hertfordshire CAMRA Pub of the Year Award, and we also won the North Herts award last year."
Catherine Strachan, 57, who is the learning and development manager at Stevenage-based missiles company MBDA UK, has been honoured by the Queen for Ms Strachan's services to "career development and to young people".
Ms Strachan has been working at MBDA for more than 20 years, running the firm's apprenticeship and graduate programme.
"The work Cathy has done driving MBDA's early careers programmes over the past decade has helped shape the lives of hundreds of young people in our local communities," said Chris Allam, managing director of MBDA UK.
"The apprenticeship and graduate programmes she has helped to develop across MBDA have won many awards over recent years, thanks to her hard work, passion and innovative spirit.
"I am thrilled that she has received this personal honour in recognition of all her achievements."
Ms Strachan said she was "very flattered", but getting the award - in her opinion - was more a question of "just doing my job".
"I do it because I love it and I feel very passionately about it", said the Welwyn resident.
Magistrate Nicholas Moss, bench chair for North and East Hertfordshire, has been awarded an OBE for services to the administration of justice.
He said: "Being a magistrate is a great privilege and I'm absolutely delighted to receive this honour. Although I am the recipient, it underlines the importance of the magistracy generally and particularly the work of my 100-plus colleagues on the North and East Hertfordshire bench in dispensing justice to our communities.
"We deal with almost all the cases that come before the courts and since I was appointed in 1983 I have seen major improvements in how we do so. We are now better trained than ever; we deal with cases more efficiently; guidelines ensure a consistent approach to sentencing; we give reasons for our decisions and we are advised by very able legal advisers.
"The system ensures fairness for all court users and I am immensely proud to be part of it."
The Queen's Birthday Honours list, which was announced tonight, is always published to coincide with Queen Elizabeth's official birthday.