Government agencies whose staff were among the hundreds of recipients of the Queen’s Birthday Honours this month have praised the work of “unsung heroes” who contributed to the fight against the first wave of Covid-19.
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory group leader Jamie Taylor was awarded an OBE in recognition his “instrumental” role in meeting a request from the NHS for DSTL to manufacture the critical fluid required for the fitting and use of masks by frontline health workers.
Gary Aitkenhead, who is chief executive of the Ministry of Defence executive agency, said the work enabled the production of personal protective equipment to be increased.
“I am immensely proud of Jamie and all our colleagues in their efforts to combat coronavirus,” he said.
“DSTL’s world-class scientific research and development helps save lives, and I congratulate Jamie on an award which reflects great dedication and selfless commitment.”
Taylor, who is part of DSTL’s Chemical Biological and Radiological Division in Salisbury, said he wanted to accept the honour on behalf of his colleagues in recognition of their “massive” team effort.
“DSTL has provided support across UK government, such as deploying microbiologists who went into NHS hospitals to increase testing capacity, and analysts and modellers,” he said.
“I’m pleased that the contribution made by DSTL staff in helping to keep people safe has been recognised.”
Sellafield staff saluted
Two staff at Sellafield Ltd in Cumbria – Kathryn McCloghrie and Mark Roberts – received British Empire Medals for their work in response to Covid-19. Sellafield Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and is tasked with managing the cleanup of the nuclear site.
Chief executive Mark Chown said he was “incredibly proud” of the efforts of the organisation's employees, and that McCloghrie and Roberts had made a “vital” contribution.
“Not only have they kept Sellafield safe and secure and brought work across the site safely back on line, they have also worked hard to make a difference in our local communities,” he said.
McCloghrie, who is Sellafield Ltd's head of corporate strategy, was awarded her BEM for services to business and the community in Cumbria.
“So many people have done amazing things this year that I feel quite humbled to have received this recognition,” she said.
“I see it as thanks to the whole team for our efforts and an indication of how important the ongoing safe secure management of Sellafield is to the country as well as the local community.”
Roberts, who is community support cell leader, was awarded his BEM for services to the community in Cumbria during the pandemic.
“I feel strongly that the recognition belongs to everyone who I’ve worked with as part of the community support cell, and the crisis management support team – those people, and many others, have worked incredibly hard with very long hours, through weekends, and often under significant pressure,” he said.
“I’m very proud to have worked with those people; and I’m still working with some of the same people day-in, day-out, and they haven’t expected anything in return.”
Rail industry plaudits
Six current staff of Department for Transport arm’s length body Network Rail were awarded MBEs for their work in response to Covid-19, as was one former employee.
Network Rail chief executive Andrew Haines congratulated Simon Constable, Dave Williams, Gareth Mallion, Chris Conway, Phil Graham, Brian Paynter and Nasir Khan for their “incredible” achievement.
“Their hard work and dedication is an example to us all of the difference we can make at our workplaces and in our communities, and I am proud to call them my colleagues,” he said.
“I am pleased but not at all surprised to see the outstanding efforts of rail staff acknowledged in this way.”
Constable volunteered to lead and coordinate distribution of PPE and supplies across Scotland during the pandemic.
Williams undertook volunteer work at the Simon Community homelessness charity during the pandemic, keeping them supplied with food, warm clothing and other essentials.
Mallion volunteered to run logistics at the Manchester Nightingale Hospital, coordinating and leading teams from various sectors to make sure the hospital was set up smoothly.
Signaller Conway’s MBE was in recognition of his volunteer work in Blackpool throughout the pandemic, delivering up to 1,200 meals a week to the homeless, vulnerable and elderly while the soup kitchen he usually volunteers at was forced to close due to social distancing rules.
Graham came out of retirement to help train reserve signallers who could cover in the event of staff shortages, helping to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of the railway.
Project director Paynter was awarded his MBE for charity work and dedication to safety on the railway, such as by ensuring a defibrillator is available on every work site and developing training for first responders to an accident.
Khan’s MBE came in recognition of his commitment to improving diversity in the rail industry – increasing the number of multi-faith rooms for Network Rail employees and co-founding Muslims in Rail network. He has since left Network Rail.