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Leaders from worlds of music, engineering and science among those to receive New Year honours

OBE for Anglian Water's Christoper Newsome EMN-170401-154812001
OBE for Anglian Water's Christoper Newsome EMN-170401-154812001

Christopher Newsome, from Tallington, has been awarded an OBE for services to civil engineering and carbon reduction.

Prof Anne Willis, of Wing, Rutland EMN-170501-091509001
Prof Anne Willis, of Wing, Rutland EMN-170501-091509001

Mr Newsome is director of asset management at Anglian Water – a post he has held since 2004.

Born and raised in Yorkshire, he was inspired to pursue a career in civil engineering by his uncle – who ran a plant hire firm – and after witnessing major motorway and dam construction projects taking place in the ’60s and ’70s.

Mr Newsome said he was “proud and honoured” to be awarded an OBE and he and his wife are looking forward to a trip to Buckingham Palace for an investiture ceremony.

He has been part of the government’s Green Construction Board since it was formed in 2012 and is chairman of the the GCB Infrastructure Working Group – which is made up of leaders from the construction sector.

MBE for Edmund Nickless EMN-170401-155306001
MBE for Edmund Nickless EMN-170401-155306001

Speaking about his carbon reduction work, Mr Newsome said: “I led the Infrastructure Carbon Review – published by the treasury and The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills – and am very proud to be associated with the initiative signed by government ministers and major industry leaders who pledged to save as much as 24 million tonnes of carbon and £1.46 billion a year by 2050.

“During my time as asset management director at Anglian Water I have overseen a reduction in capital carbon – the amount of carbon emitted as a result of the construction projects we undertake – by 53per cent in six years.

“I have also set up the innovative @one alliance structure which enables Anglian Water to deliver high quality, lower carbon infrastructure projects at a competitive cost for our customers.”

l Professor Anne Willis, who lives in Wing, Rutland, has also been awarded an OBE.

Anthony Forbes, of Wakerley, East Northants, awarded MBE. PHOTO: Kevin Day EMN-170401-155653001
Anthony Forbes, of Wakerley, East Northants, awarded MBE. PHOTO: Kevin Day EMN-170401-155653001

Prof Willis, 53, is director of the Medical Research Council’s Toxicology Unit and has been recognised for services to biomedical science and promoting the careers of women in science.

The Toxicology Unit, based at the University of Leicester, carries out research into diseases such as mesothelioma and Parkinson’s, which can be triggered by toxins. It also plays a role in the development of new drugs – predicting and preventing adverse reactions and side-effects.

Prof Willis, who is married and has a 16-year-old son, said: “If you walk into a lecture hall these days, half of the biology and chemistry students will be female.

“A good number go on to become junior lecturers but very few rise any higher than that. It is not because there not enough quality candidates – it seems to be ‘unconcious bias’ .

Claire Lomas with the letter confirming she has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list EMN-170301-165135001
Claire Lomas with the letter confirming she has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours list EMN-170301-165135001

“To progress you need to speak at conferences and get onto panels and get yourself known – but it seems people are more likely to select male candidates for these opportunities. It’s depressing in a way, but the Medical Research Council is really promoting women in science.

“I spend a lot of time visiting schools, giving talks to pupils and supporting younger female academics.”

Prof Willis said she had been inundated with congratulatory messages since been named on the honours list – including a personal message from Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, who invented the technique of genetic fingerprinting in 1984, and who himself was appointed Companion of Honour – a distinction only 65 people can hold at the same time.

l Edmund Nickless, 69, who retired in 2015 after 18 years as executive secretary of The Geological Society of London, has been made an MBE for services to geology.

Mr Nickless, from Belton-in-Rutland, is married and has two children and four grandchildren.

He studied at Queen Mary University of London before securing a job at the British Geological Survey where he worked for 27 years.

Based during that time in London and Edinburgh, Mr Nickless’s area of expertise was locating deposits of bulk materials such as sand, gravel and rock.

During his time with the British Geological Survey, Mr Nickless completed secondments with the Natural Environment Research Council, and at the Cabinet Office in Whitehall where served as an environmental adviser.

The Geological Society, which dates back to 1807, is a learned society and professional body for earth scientists, with 12,000 members worldwide.

Mr Nickless said: “It was a great pleasure to lead the society for 18 years, to travel overseas to America, Europe and the Far East to build links with other societies.

“I very much enjoyed my career. Geology is a fascinating subject. It was a pleasant surprise when I got the letter from the Cabinet Office.”

lThe chairman of the Royal Choral Society has been made an MBE for services to music.

Anthony Forbes, 78, has held the post for more than 20 years. He lives in Wakerley, East Northamptonshire, just over the Rutland boundary.

Mr Forbes worked in financial services in the City of London and pursued his interest in music in his spare time.

He was not available to speak to the Mercury, but wife Belinda said the honour was a “nice shock”, adding: “He knew Sir Malcolm Sargent as a boy and was introduced to the choir through him. It’s become a very important part of his life over the years.”

The Royal Choral Society began its illustrious life as the Royal Albert Hall Choral Society – formed for the opening of the Royal Albert Hall in 1871.

lFormer Stamford High School pupil Claire Lomas is hoping being made an MBE in the New Year’s honours list will encourage even more people to support her quest to help fund a cure for paralysis.

The 36-year-old, from Eye Kettleby, near Melton Mowbray, was nominated after raising more than £500,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) with a series of gruelling sponsored challenges despite being paralysed from the chest down following a riding accident almost 10 years ago.

lMichael Roughan, chairman of the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Leicestershire and Rutland Adoption Panels has been made an MBE for services to children and the community.

lChristopher Cook, chairman of the Lincolnshire Local Safeguarding Children Board, has been awarded an OBE for services to children. He lives in Boston.

lDr Anthony Hill, formerly director of public health for Lincolnshire County Council and NHS Lincolnshire is made an MBE for services to public health. He lives in Louth.


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