NEW YEARS HONOURS: Four people from Fylde coast among those awarded for their services
Four people from the Fylde coast are amongst those awarded on the New Years Honours List.
Former Blackpool schoolboy and Pleasure Beach musical director Dr Andrew Parmley has been knighted; Pamela Birch, who took Hambleton Primary School from special measures to twice outstanding, has been given an OBE; Fylde Council leader and community stalwart Sue Fazackerley has been awarded an MBE; and charity champion Anita Castellina has been given a British Empire Medal.
Dr Parmley, who grew up in South Shore before winning a place at the Royal Academy of Music in Manchester, worked on the popular Showtime On Ice and Holiday On Ice productions in the resort while in his early 20s.
Now 61, he is principal at The Harrodian fee-paying school in West London, and was Lord Mayor of London in 2016/17. He has been honoured for his services to music education and civic engagement.
And although he left Blackpool for the bright lights of London and dreams of a career as a West End musician, his heart very much remains in Blackpool.
He told The Gazette previously: "The vision for the future of Blackpool is fantastic, but it’s going to take a huge amount of will power and energy to get it together."
Mrs Birch, 52, who is currently holidaying in Italy, said she was 'shocked' to receive a letter telling her of the award, given for her services to education, in late November.
She said: "It’s lovely to be awarded but I can think of many other people who deserve it.
“You don’t do your job to get awards like this. You don’t think about it. It’s a vocation and you do what you do to make a difference.
“It’s not a nine to five job, you do it because you want to make a difference to children’s lives.
“This is home and it’s making a difference at home that really matters.”
Born and bred on the Fylde coast, she started her teaching career in Halifax, before spending time inspiring youngsters in Oldham and Lancaster.
She later moved closer to home, working at Bispham Endowed Primary School before becoming acting headteacher at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School in St Annes in 1999.
The following year, she took the held at Hambleton Primary School, taking it from special measures to twice outstanding during a 16-year spell in the driving seat.
In 2016, she became the executive head and is currently responsible for helping to overlook seven primary schools under the control of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), where she has also been deputy chief executive officer for the past two years.
She also sits on the Headteacher Board of the Regional Schools' Commissioner.
Tony Nicholson, chief executive officer at FCAT, said Mrs Birch is ‘one in a million’.
He added: “Pam Birch is quite simply amongst the most charismatic, committed and dedicated teaching professionals I will ever have the privilege to know.
“The passion she has for improving the life chances of children in our area is infectious, compelling, and inspiring.
“I consider myself blessed to work with her. This recognition is indeed richly deserved.”
Fylde Council leader Sue Fazackerley said she was thrilled to be awarded an MBE for services to the community of Lytham St Annes.
“It was something I never expected,” she said.
“I am really proud that I was born locally and have lived in St Annes all my life and serving the community has always meant so much to me.”
Sue has been a councillor since 1987, representing St Annes’ Central ward throughout that time and took over as leader of the council from David Eaves in December 2014.
She first got into community work as a teenager while still a pupil at St Annes College for Girls, volunteering to help at the former Crossroads Club.
"That was a club for the elderly run by Lytham St Annes Youth Service to the Community which met weekly in a local church hall and provided transport, entertainment and refreshments to around 75 people.
"I was involved with that for over 30 years," recalled Sue, who went on to be organising secretary of the LSA Youth Service.
She was a volunteer with the WRVS Luncheon Club for some 10 years, while other organisations with which she has been involved include Lytham St Annes Old People’s Welfare Committee, now Age Concern, the Relief in Sickness charity. the War Memorial Housing Association, Christian Aid and the Brownies.
She was co-founder and treasurer of the Trinity Hospice Helpers’ Friends Group, treasurer of the League of Friends of Clifton Hospital and has also volunteered for the Samaritans.
She is a former churchwarden, Sunday School teacher and Church Council Secretary at St Thomas’ Church, St Annes where she is a lay assistant and choir member.
After some years as headmistress of St Annes College for Girls, she worked in the civil service from which she retired in 2008, shortly before becoming Mayor of Fylde.
Before becoming leader of Fylde Council, she was cabinet member for tourism and played a key role in the establishment of key events such as Lytham Proms and the 1940s Weekend.
“I love Lytham and St Annes and Fylde and I really enjoy serving the community and helping people through my council work,” added Sue.
“It really is a great honour to be given this award."
Anita Castellina, 65, who lives in Anchorsholme, was awarded for services to the community in Cannock, Staffordshire, where Avon Business and Leisure is based.
The charity, where Mrs Castellina is listed as a director, helps the community for hiring out rooms for a range of activities and classes, such as parent and toddler playgroups, fitness classes, and karate and tai chi lessons.
Mrs Castellina helped raise the cash to transform the building from a derelict mess into a thriving community hub when she started volunteering 30 years ago, and also helps other groups and charities apply for vital funding.
She said she had not even told her daughter or mum about the honour, and added: "It's not sunk in yet. I'm still in shock. I feel humbled.
"I don't do it for the recognition; I have never been one to push myself forward and say, 'I have got this grant for you'."
Mrs Castellina, who moved to the Fylde coast 18 years ago, added: "This is my home and I love the north west."
The Beatles' Ringo Starr and Bee Gees co-founder Barry Gibb have been awarded knighthoods, alongside a string of political figures including former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and key Tory backbencher Graham Brady.
Gibb, who is recognised for his services to music and charity, dedicated the honour to his late brothers and former bandmates and said: "The magic, the glow, and the rush will last me the rest of my life."
The musicians are joined on the list by Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell, 48, who said she was 'truly humbled' to become a dame for services to dance, and War Horse author Michael Morpurgo, who is knighted for services to literature and charity.
Morpurgo, 74, who previously received an OBE, said he had Joey, the equine character from the 1982 children's book which became a hit international play, to thank for his knighthood.
He said: "There was never a knight that has owed so much to his horse as this one - and in fact, we will give the knighthood to Joey and call him Sir Joey."
Gibb, 71, the last surviving member of the Bee Gees, said he was "deeply honoured, humbled, and very proud" to be recognised, adding: "This is a moment in life to be treasured and never forgotten.
"I want to acknowledge how responsible my brothers are for this honour. It is as much theirs as it is mine."
Two of the biggest names in line for honours were leaked, with 77-year-old Starr, whose real name is Richard Starkey, revealed to be in line for a knighthood for services to music days ahead of the announcement.
His award comes 52 years after he received an MBE as part of the 'Fab Four' and about 20 years after fellow bandmate Sir Paul McCartney was honoured.
Details of the knighthood of former deputy prime minister and prominent Remain campaigner Mr Clegg, 50, were also the subject of early newspaper reports. His award has provoked criticism among some Brexiteers.
Conservative MPs Graham Brady, 50, chairman of the party's 1922 Committee, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, 64, and Christopher Chope, 70, receive knighthoods for political and public service while Cheryl Gillan, 65, vice chairman of the committee, is made a dame.
On the Labour side, Preston MP Mark Hendrick, 59, and Commons Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, 60, are knighted.
Professor John Curtice, 64, who led the exit polls that accurately forecast the last four general elections including Labour's shock gains in June, receives a knighthood for services to social sciences and politics.
"Just six months ago the exit poll I led surprised everyone with a shock prediction that went on to be uncannily accurate," he said.
"Now it is my turn to be surprised - and humbled - by the gracious decision to grant me a knighthood. It is not something I ever expected to happen."
Grime gets a 'shout-out' on this year's list, with Richard Cowie, aka Wiley, receiving an MBE for services to music along with Grace Ladoja, who manages Skepta.
Wiley, 38, who has been described as the "godfather of Grime" and a pioneer of the underground scene, said: "I'm honoured to be receiving an MBE.
"It feels like the school grade I wanted and didn't get but now I'm finally there."
Grime MC and 2016 Mercury Prize winner Skepta previously claimed he turned down an MBE in song Hypocrisy, rapping: "Just came back from the Ivors/ And look at what we collected.
"The MBE got rejected / I'm not trying to be accepted."
Author and journalist Jilly Cooper is recognised for services to literature and charity, actor Hugh Laurie for services to drama and former British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman for her contribution to fashion journalism. All have their OBEs upgraded to CBEs.
Also among the 1,123 people honoured is 80s star and self-described 'maverick' Marc Almond, who receives an OBE for services to arts and culture.
The 60-year-old, who had hits including Tainted Love as one half of electric duo Soft Cell, said he was 'totally excited' to be recognised, adding: "I can't really be a rebel any more. I think it's time to leave it to younger people."
Breakfast TV veteran Eamonn Holmes, 58, who is also awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting, said it was a 'wonderful accolade'.
He said: "It's like getting a gold star for your homework - 2018 will be my 38th year as a broadcaster and I can't think of a better way of marking that."
David Johnston, chief executive of the Social Mobility Foundation charity, receives an OBE just weeks after he resigned with the rest of the board of the Government's Social Mobility Commission in protest at the lack of progress towards a 'fairer Britain'.
He is recognised for services to social mobility and education.
In sport, women's cricket is celebrated. Heather Knight, captain of the World Cup-winning England team is awarded an OBE, along with head coach Mark Robinson. Clare Connor, director of women's cricket, is upgraded to a CBE.
World Cup player of the tournament Tammy Beaumont and player of the final Anya Shrubsole are given MBEs for their services to cricket.
Away from the limelight, businesswoman Vivian Hunt, managing partner for UK and Ireland McKinsey and Company, receives a damehood for services to the economy and women in business.
Craig Mackey, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, and Edward Troup, outgoing executive chairman of HM Revenue & Customs, are knighted.
Married couple Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company, and Nicholas Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, are also recognised, both receiving OBEs for their services to retail.
The 2018 list is six per cent smaller than last year, when 1,197 honours were awarded, and the smallest since 2013.
Women make up just under half of those being honoured, with 551 earning an award, and 9.2 per cent of recipients come from a black, Asian and minority ethnic background.
The oldest people to be honoured are 101-year-olds Lieutenant Colonel Mordaunt Cohen, who receives an MBE for services to Second World War education, and Helena Jones, who is given a British Empire Medal for services to young people and the community in Brecon, Powys.
Lucia Mee, 18, is the youngest to be recognised with a British Empire Medal for her work raising awareness of organ donation.
Future honours lists will focus on those involved in the responses to the series of UK terror attacks in 2017 and the Grenfell Tower fire which left 71 people dead.