It’s a great Honour

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The great and the good of Lancaster and Morecambe are among those honoured in the New Year’s Honours list.

On a day that saw Lancashire’s favourite Olympian Bradley Wiggins awarded a well deserved knighthood and fashion designer Stella McCartney awarded an MBE, it was work with the community and education that was recognised locally.

Lancaster University’s Professor Linda Woodhead was awarded a Member of the British Empire (MBE). The Professor of Sociology of Religion was recognised for her services to Higher Education.

The Professor has been directing the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme between 2007 and 2012.

The £12m research investment embraces 75 separate projects.

Prof Woodhead was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and her first job was as lecturer at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford.

After that she came to Lancaster, liked it, and has been here ever since.

Prof Woodhead said: “I am a sociologist of religion. My main interest is in documenting and analysing religious change in modern societies, relating it to wider social changes, and thinking through practical and political implications.

“I have carried out empirical research in Britain, the USA, India and parts of Europe, and have written about Christianity, spirituality, neo-Hinduism and Islam in Europe.

“I am committed both to academic research and teaching, and to engaging research with wider public debate. I often work collaboratively.

“My ongoing work focuses on religion in public life, religious diversity and boundaries, the re-enchantment of daily life and religion, sex and gender.”

Her interests and hobbies include drag racing, American cars from the 60s and 70s, dogs and gardening.

Another Professor, Brian Gates from Carnforth, was also recognised with an MBE for his services to Interfaith relations and to the Religious Education Council of England and Wales.

The Religious Education Council of England and Wales was established in 1973 to represent the collective interests of a wide variety of professional associations and faith communities in deepening and strengthening provision for Religious Education. It provides a multi-faith forum where national organisations with an interest in supporting and promoting Religious Education in schools and colleges can share matters of common concern.

Charles Geoffrey Nicholas Kay-Shuttleworth, 5th Baron Shuttleworth, was given the Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO).

He is also chairman of the Council, Duchy of Lancaster and Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire.

Community volunteer Mrs Maureen Richardson was honoured for her services to the community in Halton.

Maureen, part-time manager and fundraiser at The Centre @Halton, said: “I’m really excited, it’s fantastic news.

“It’s not what happens to normal people! I’ve been the fundraiser and part-time manager for the community centre in Halton for 10 years.

“The centre has been there since the mid-70s but over the last 10 years we’ve been fundraising for the annexe.

“We received £450,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to develop the outside area.

“We needed over £1.5million in funds. The Lancashire Environmental Fund gave the first half million and we raised £750,000 through other fundraising including the Big Lottery and county council funds.

“The centre reached the point where it was about to close. The boiler had broken and the radiators weren’t working.

“I received the letter about the BEM three weeks ago but had to keep quiet.

“It’s going to be presented locally and I’ll be going to the Queen’s garden party in the summer.

“It should be an exciting time to go to the palace!”