Local people get New Year honours

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The founder of Foyle School of Speech and Drama Sandra Biddle has been awarded an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II.

Mrs Biddle is to be conferred with Membership of the Order of the British Empire.

Mrs Biddle said: “I humbly accept this on behalf of all the boys and girls that have come through our doors over the past 30 years.

“This award is as much theirs as it is mine, and I want to wish everyone a healthy, happy and holy New Year.”

The well-known Londonderry drama teacher is one of several local people to make the roll of New Year’s Honours List.

Basil Dalton, the Head of School at the North West Regional College has been awarded the MBE in recognition for services to further education.

Ballykelly Primary School Principal Helen Cole is getting an MBE for services to education, while in Limavady an MBE has been awarded to Mervyn Quigg for services to the Boys’ Brigade.

Stella Cummings, NI Vice President of the Red Cross, will get an MBE for voluntary services to First Aid and the community, while Isabella Bell Hogg, Chair of Strabane and District Women Together, gets the same award also for voluntary services.

Thomas Orr, Governor of Strabane Academy, will become a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to education.

Maurice Samuel Simpson, lately Voluntary Care Services Driver with the Ambulance Service, is getting the BEM for services to the community in Londonderry, while Liam Ferguson, Community Services Organiser with the Probation Board, is getting the same award for services to community safety.

BEMs have been awarded to Ann McGarrigle from Limavady for services to mental health and the bereaved, and Robert Arthur McGonigle, Parish Administrator at St Columb’s Cathedral, for services to Built Heritage and Tourism in Londonderry.