Local figures recognised in New Year’s Honours

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 January 2013

Bob Nicholson

Bob Nicholson

Bob Nicholson

PEOPLE from North Somerset and Somerset have been recognised for their services to their communities, occupations and country in the New Year’s Honours list.

Among those honoured in this year’s list are the founder of Weston’s Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) Concert Band, the former chairman of the Somerset Tourism Association and an army major general.

Peter Skellon, who lives in Mendip Rise, Locking, has been handed a British Empire Medal for his voluntary service to the RAFA Concert Band, which he has been musical director of since its formation in October 1998.

The 62-year-old said: “It is a great honour to be nominated and chosen. I had no idea I had been put forward.

“I must say that my wife Pauline has been a part of my receiving this award through her support over the years.”

Monica Murdoch, aged 83, has also been given a British Empire Medal following a lifetime of service to the community in Blagdon.

She still cooks for the village lunch club, has co-ordinated a helpline service enabling people to get to hospital and doctor appointments and is also a member of the Women’s Institute and companions club.

She said: “I’m very proud, but it was a bit of a shock, I didn’t know how I got it. Somebody must have put my name forward.”

Bob Nicholson has been appointed a Member of The Most Excellent Order Of The British Empire (MBE) after decades of service to tourism in Somerset.

Mr Nicholson, aged 71 and from Burnham, served as chairman of the Somerset Tourism Association and its predecessor, Sedgemoor Tourism Association, for 25 years until his retirement in 2011.

He is currently the president of the Somerset Tourism Association, helped to revive the Burnham and Highbridge carnival when a teenager and had a 25-year-long career as an entertainer in the towns.

He said: “I was extremely surprised and honoured to have been nominated for this award as I felt that it was a recognition of not only my efforts over the past 50 years to promote tourism in Somerset but also a recognition of the importance of the tourism industry to Somerset.”

Kathy Ford, Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s head of corporate information services, has also been appointed an MBE after 22 years of service with the force.

Marilyn Darg, aged 58 and of Langford, has also received the accolade after serving as a magistrate on the North Somerset Bench for 15 years.

Margaret Jackson has also been awarded an MBE after launching the North Somerset Masonic Widows Association in 1996.

The 81-year-old, of Redhill, has been chairman of the association, which is open for the widows of masons and organises outings, talks and holidays, ever since.

Major General Ian Copeland, who was born in Weston and went to Ashbrooke House School, has been made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in recognition of his 34 years in the army.

Maj Gen Copeland, who has long-standing links with Worlebury Golf Club, is currently the Director of the Joint Support Chain, where his main responsibility is providing support for service personnel deployed on operations.

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