New Year's Honours: bumper crop awarded across Cumbria and North Lancs

The Westmorland Gazette: Sarah Dunning OBE Sarah Dunning OBE

DOZENS of Cumbrians have been named in the Queen's New Year's Honours list.

Gongs have been handed out to worthy recipients across the county, including several in South Lakeland, who have made exceptional contributions in their fields.

“I was quite taken aback. I had to sit down and get my wife Vivienne to read it to check that it said what I thought it did, it was such a surprise,” said Arthur Littlefair, who has been awarded an MBE for services to the community and to the Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team.

The 63-year-old has spent 43 years working for the mountain rescue service and said he has 'no plans to retire'.

An OBE was awarded to Sarah Dunning, chief executive of Westmorland Ltd, for services to the food, drink and hospitality sectors.

Ms Dunning has joined the likes of singer Katherine Jenkins and actress Lynda Bellingham to be awarded one of the most prestigious of the honours, in the first year that women have outnumbered men on the list.

Her award-winning family business – which comprises Tebay motorway services and Hotel, the Rheged Centre and Junction 38 truckstop - was set up by Mrs Dunning’s father John in 1972, when the M6 was built through his farm. She took over the running in 2005.

“The business, which considers itself a food business, has bucked the trend in its industry by staying close to its farming roots," said the 43-year-old.

Owen Jones, of High Nibthwaite, Ulverston, has been awarded an MBE for single-handedly keeping alive a traditional rural trade.

The 54-year-old has spent 25 years making a living from the craft of swill basket making - and for most of that time has been the only person in the UK doing so.

Others named on the list include Bernard Warriner, of Lindale, who has been awarded a BEM for dedicating 36 years to the Lake District Ski Club, Michael Roberts, from Middleton-in-Lonsdale, was has been given a BEM for services to the Special Constabulary and Ruth Pedley, from Levens, who has been awarded a BEM for her work rehoming ill-treated or abandoned animals.

"Mrs Pedley has cheerfully overcome mobility problems that have come upon her in recent years," praised a spokesman for the Westmorland branch of the RSPCA.

"She has devoted her life to the branch and at 90 years old continues to be very involved."

Also honoured was Theatre by the Lake executive director Patric Gilchrist, who receives a MBE for services to the arts. Mr Gilchrist, who has been at the helm of the popular Keswick theatre for 15 years, said: “What I’m really pleased about is that it’s recognition that good things in the arts happen away from the major conurbations, and the arts can flourish in places away from the mainstream.”

Others named on the list include:

* Councillor Gordon Macpherson Nicholson, chairman of Eden District Council, received an OBE for services to local government

* Margaret Jean Burne JP, of Penrith, received an MBE for services to the magistracy and to the community in Cliburn

* John Hamilton Innderdale, chairman of the Mountain Heritage Trust, received an MBE for voluntary services for preserving and promoting mountain heritage

* Annie Mawson, founder of Sunbeams Music Trust, received an MBE for services to music therapy in Cumbria

* Reverend Canon Roy McCullough, of Penrith, received an MBE for services to the Church of England

* Dr Theodore Paul Weston, of Penrith, received an MBE for services to victims of trauma

* Susan Elaine Lomas, of Penrith, received a BEM for services to community cohesion in Cumbria.


Anyone can nominate someone they think worthy of an honour and advice on how to do so is now available on the new Cumbria Lieutenancy website at

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