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Royal seal of approval for outstanding Leicestershire residents

By Mike Kapur, His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Leicestershire

On 15th June, His Majesty announced the Birthday Honours List 2024, and I was delighted to see so many outstanding residents of Leicester and Leicestershire on this year’s list! The honours system recognises outstanding individuals who have made achievements in public life. This could be through long term voluntary service, displaying moral courage, or improving the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.

Picture: Pukaar News

Some honourees will receive an invite to an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, but British Empire Medals are presented locally by Lord-Lieutenants. I am very much looking forward to meeting this year’s BEM awardees to present their medals later this year. These are always very special occasions for me, not only because I am bestowing a great honour on a deserving individual at the command of His Majesty The King, but also because it highlights the excellent service given by someone within the local area, often over a considerable period of time. In my role as Lord-Lieutenant, I meet so many people across our City and County giving their time and effort to support others, and it is wonderful to see them publicly recognised, and to be able to celebrate their achievements alongside their friends and family. 

These year’s worthy Leicestershire winners included-

 Mark Storer BEM

Mark is a surviving and inspirational cancer patient, and the Founder Member of the Brown Dog Charity. Through creative challenges and sporting events, they raise money to fast-track NHS purchases of vital equipment that improves cancer diagnosis, surgery, and patient care. They funded two “world firsts”, developed in Leicestershire- the “Liver Microwave,” a probe that breaks down cancerous tumours; and the “Prostrate trolley/procedure” which pioneered a new way to diagnose prostate cancer.  Mark and his fellow Brown Dog volunteers have raised over £700,000 over 24 years. Brown Dog aim to raise £53,000 for a “Single Balloon Enterscope” this year.

Picture: supplied

Maureen O’Malley BEM

 Maureen started her career working as receptionist/admin for Voluntary Action South Leicestershire. She ran a befriending scheme for the elderly, and set up and developed a local support service for family carers. VASL then went onto provide Carers Support across Leicestershire.  She was promoted to Service Manager, and was made overall manager of VASL on 2011. During her 12 years at the helm, with the help of volunteers, staff and trustees, VASL helped many in the community. Maureen loved her role and feels very fortunate to have had a full and rewarding career, retiring from VASL in 2023.

Picture: supplied

Nicola Norville MBE

Nicola joined the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court as a Speech and Language Therapist in 2009. Nicola joined DMRC at the height of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, seeing the devastating impact of war firsthand. She works with injured personnel admitted to DMRC’s Neurological Services Team, treating patients with complex brain injuries. 

Nicola also volunteers for the DMRC Benevolent Fund. The charity supports serving military personnel in rehabilitation at DMRC Stanford Hall, providing patients with social opportunities and respite activities. Nicola now holds the position of Events and Fundraising Manager, raising in excess of £200,000 per year. 

Picture: supplied

Peter Smith MBE

Peter founded The Cooke eLearning Foundation in 2005. Initially the charity aimed to provide computers to families to help bridge the digital divide. Today, trading as E2, the charity has expanded, offering a range of educational and community services for young people and adults, and supporting pupils from local schools by providing basic skills and accredited courses. E2 offer activities for the Beaumont Leys community, including a weekly food pantry, sporting and creative activities for children and young people, school holiday clubs and an urban garden project. Peter’s thanks go to everyone who has helped to make E2 such a success.

Picture: supplied

Anna Severwright OBE

Anna is a disability rights campaigner, whose own experience of disability and living with multiple long-term conditions encouraged her to build a platform for change, ensuring that the voices of older and disabled people can influence national policy on social care. Anna has previously served as an adviser to the House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee. She is a patient partner with the NHS Trust, and works with Social Care Future and InControl, bringing further positive change to social care and working for an inclusive society where people can access the support they need.

Penelope Broomhead MBE

Penny worked as an NHS physiotherapist , specialising in amputation rehabilitation. Her interest in sport started after the 1996 paralympic games, when she had to teach younger patients who wanted to run. 

Penny has helped Triathlon, Cricket, and Rugby League, to develop the disability side of their game. Classification is now an integral part of para sport to ensure fair competition. Penny started classifying in 1998, and now classifies nationally and internationally. This has enabled her to travel around the world and meet some amazing people.

Penny was thrilled to receive this honour, especially so soon before the 2024 Paralympic Games.

Picture: supplied

All of the recipients of these awards stood out as shining examples of people who are dedicated to give unstintingly of their time and energy to support their community in different ways. They have been recognised for this work through these awards, I hope they feel truly and deservedly proud of the honour they have received in recognition of their dedication, service, and compassion for others. 

The Honours system relies on public nominations of deserving awardees, by people who know their work and want this to be recognised on a national level. Whilst the Honours Lists are announced twice per year, nominations can be made all year round. If you know a Leicester or Leicestershire resident who you think deserves recognition for going “over and above”, more information on how to nominate can be found at

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