Queen's Birthday Honours: Sunderland stalwarts recognised

A tireless community volunteer, a champion of the region's naval cadets and reserves and a talented glass artist have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

ASDA staff member Maureen Wallwork BEM for services to charity
ASDA staff member Maureen Wallwork BEM for services to charity

Peter Blyth and Brian Jones are made MBEs, while Maureen Wallwork receives the BEM.

Peter, of Fairmead Way, South Hylton, has been honoured ‘For services to the Reserve Forces and Cadets on Tyneside.’

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Wearside Glass Sculptures, Brian Jones OBE

“He has made an outstanding contribution to reserve forces and cadets in Tyneside while forging links with the community between defence, civic partners, business and charitable organisations,” reads the citation.

“His landmark achievement is ‘Project Tyneside’, the £3.2m infrastructure programme at HMS CALLIOPE, a training centre of the Royal Naval Reserve.

“He mitigated emergent work and exceptionally bad weather which could very easily have resulted in the closure of the site; such an outcome could have severely impacted on recruitment for all three branches of HM Armed Forces.

“His measures ensured savings for the MOD and further benefits, notably a vibrant multi-use site which is now home to the joint Maritime Reserve (RNR and RMR), over 200 university cadets and a busy armed forces careers office.”

Peter Blyth MBE

Peter, 68, is overwhelmed to have been nominated.

“I found out about three or four weeks ago,” he said.

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“I was very surprised but extremely proud.”

He has shared the news with wife Roni: “She was overjoyed,” he said.

Wearside Glass Sculptures, Brian Jones OBE

“She is very happy.”

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Brian Jones has been honoured ‘For services to Glassblowing.’

“His contribution to glass art is invaluable,” the citation says.

“Along with his colleague, Norman Veitch, they started work at the Pyrex factory in Sunderland, later known as Corning Glass Works. They were trained in the art of lampworking - the glassblowing technique using a gas burner – and worked as glassblowers fabricating complex chemical apparatus for use in laboratories.

Peter Blyth MBE
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“In 1996 they jointly founded Wearside Glass Sculptures. They hold daily demonstrations of lampworking, entertaining visitors and informing them about the properties of glass and the history of glassmaking in Sunderland.

They are also dedicated to teaching their skills to others and generously share their vast experience and knowledge with students. As well as being talented creative glassmakers, they have become role models for many young artists.”

Norman has now retired but Brian, 61, is still hard at work: “I found out about a month ago and asked ‘Is it April the First?’ I was completely taken aback,” he said.

“I am quite chuffed, to be honest. It was totally unexpected, but it is great.”

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Maureen Wallwork has been recognised ‘For services to the community in Washington, Tyne and Wear.’

“She is a tireless voluntary worker who has helped many individuals and organisations with compassion,” reads the citation.

“For many years she volunteered with AGE UK charity where she supported lunch clubs. She has also been involved with Dementia Groups during which she helped organise seasonal events where between 250-300 pensioners attend.

“She volunteers her own time and expertise to provide a Christmas meal and entertainment for older people in an isolated community. She was instrumental in organising and setting up a community cafe at Sulgrave and now works closely with the parish church St Michael’s and All Angels which operates a weekly food project drop-in session.”

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“I could not believe it,” Maureen, a community champion at Asda’s Washington store, said.

“It was not something I expected.”

With nominations tightly under wraps, 66-year-old Maureen, of Stridingedge, Blackfell, is looking forward to breaking the news to husband John, daughters Tracey and Jill and son John.

“It has been really, really hard,” she admitted.

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“My daughters said they were going to take me for a cream tea for Mother’s Day but with work and everything I have on, we have just never got around to it, so I have asked them to set up a cream tea and that is when I am going to tell everyone.”

Other North East figures honoured today include Barry Hudson, of High Shincliffe, who is made an MBE ‘For voluntary service to the community and Rowing’ for his work with Durham Amateur Rowing Club and Newcastle University’s Prof Roy Sandbach, who receives an OBE ‘For services to Science, Innovation and Skills.’

And Lesley Anne Powell, principal of Shotton Hall Academy, receives a CBE for services to education.

Singer-songwriter Emeli Sande has been included in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to music.

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The 30-year-old Next To Me musician will be made an MBE.

Sande was born in Sunderland to Zambian father Joel Sande and English mother Diane Sande on March 10 1987, but moved to the north-east of Scotland when she was four.

Her rise to fame began when she featured on track Diamond Rings, by rapper Chipmunk, in 2009.

She went on to release solo singles Heaven and Read All About It, for which she gained her first number one, in 2011.