The overwhelming number of honours – 76% – go to people known and appreciated for services in their local communities.
Marie Hanson, 50, a former beauty therapist from Wandsworth, south-west London, receives the MBE for her charity Storm, which provides support for people in the area subject to unemployment and abuse, particularly women who have experienced domestic abuse, or girls caught up in gang culture.
“I am just honoured and humbled,” said the mother of six, who described herself as a survivor of domestic abuse. “Who would have said 12 years ago that I would be sitting here, when then I was sitting in my car with nowhere to go with my children?” She added: “I want to empower women. This award is not about me, it’s about the women.”
The radio DJ Michael Pusey, 41, receives an MBE as the voluntary founder and head coach of Peckham BMX club, which he set up on a back garden track in south London in 2004. With the right diet, training, attitude and support, the team has gone on to win national and international titles. Now the Olympics is within reach: it is the only club in England to send nine riders on to the Olympic programme. He said he was “honoured to receive the award, on behalf of the team”.
Carmel McConnell, 54, from London, receives an MBE as the founder of Magic Breakfast, which provides a free, healthy breakfast for 23,500 children in 480 schools. She said of her award: “I want to use it to ask this country to prioritise solving social inequality, particularly hunger as a bar to education.”
Lucy Watts, 22, from Benfleet, Essex, wants to use her MBE to highlight the lack of services for young adults with disabilities and life-limiting conditions. Watts, who has the genetic disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome with life-limiting complications, writes a blog called Lucy’s Light, and is an advocate with health and social care services for other young people with disabilities.
She made a plea for more young adult hospices: “There are children’s hospices and adult hospices, but not many young adult hospices, and their needs are completely different.”