High Peak community leaders honoured in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

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It has been a bumper year for the High Peak with seven community champions being recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

The list has pinpointed two members of Buxton Mountain Rescue Team for the lifesaving work they do.

Ian Hurst, president of the organisation, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his half a century of service to mountain rescue organisations throughout Derbyshire. Keith Birkitt has received the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the Buxton team specifically.

Keith, of Chapel-en-le-Frith, said: “I got this letter from the Cabinet Office. I opened it and I was totally stunned when I read the contents which basically said I has been nominated for the award.

“I did think to myself ‘am I really good enough for this?’

“When you’re in the mountain rescue team you don’t think it is particularly special, you just go out and do it and carry on.”

Keith started volunteering for the mountain rescue team in 1994. He was inspired to do so following a hiking trip to the Lake District in which he happened to be involved in two separate rescues.

“It’s important to me because I am a mountaineer and a hill walker and I’d like to think someone would to the same for me if I had an accident,” Keith added.

Richard Body, a director of Torrs Hydro in New Mills, has been made an MBE for services to the Hydro Electricity Industry, while Hope resident Paul Archer, Head of Contact Centres at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for both his services to DWP Contact Centres and charitable fundraising.

Disley parish councillor Diane Guy has been made an MBE for dedicating more than 30 years to work in the community and for charity.

Among her achievements she founded of Disley PRIDE (People Restoring and Improving Disley’s Environment), was a founding member of the Disley and Newtown Well Dressing Group and has been secretary and events organiser of Disley Friends of Cancer Research UK since 1981

She said: “I can’t believe it. I never thought that my name would appear in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

“The award makes me feel very proud. I am very appreciative of the help that I have received over many years and I hope that others who work hard in the community will be encouraged that recognition and appreciation is given.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped to make Disley and Newtown such a beautiful and happy village to live in.”

Other High Peak residents receiving CBEs include Victoria Louise Beer, Executive Principal at Ashton–on–Mersey School in Trafford, for services to education and Professor Philip John Gummett, lately Chief Executive of Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, for services to Higher Education in Wales.