Business people across the region recognised in New Year’s Honours List


A raft of businesspeople across the region have been recognised in the Queen’s 2020 New Year’s Honours List.

Leamington-based entrepreneur Rob Smith has been recognised in Her Majesty The Queen’s 2020 New Year Honours list ‘For Services to International Trade and People with Disabilities.’

This comes as total UK exports stand at record high, rising to £675 billion in the year to October 2019.

Rob Smith founded The Active Hands Company after overcoming a fall off a cliff and suffering a high-level spinal cord injury leaving him with partial paralysis. The company makes gripping aids for people with hand function disabilities. Its gripping aids allow people to hold tightly onto objects such as garden tools, gym equipment, Wii controllers, adaptive bike handles, musical instruments and many more.

Last year, Rob was recognised as one of the UK’s most influential people with a disability in the Shaw Trust Power 100 list for his contribution to business and his sporting success.

Rob Smith Active Hands

Nicola Whiting, Chief Strategy Officer at Worcester-based software company Titania, Marcus William Burton, Non-Executive Director, Yamazaki Mazak, also based in Worcester and Sally Louise Preston, Founder and Managing Director at Amersham-based Kiddylicious have all been awarded MBEs for their services to International Trade.

Dianna Francombe, Chief Executive, West of England China Bureau has been awarded an OBE for services to International Trade

The former President of the UKspace trade body, Andy Green, has been awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the Information Technology Sector and to the British Space Industry.

Andy Green was President of UKspace for a decade before stepping down earlier this year. He was instrumental in the development of the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy, which set the UK space sector on its current growth trajectory.

Jennifer Body, already an OBE, has been awarded a CBE for services to Aerospace Engineering – Gloucestershire. She was head of research and development at Bristol-based Airbus for nearly four decades.

Other CBEs have been awarded to:

Elizabeth Fagan. Chair D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership and Non-Executive Chair, Boots UK. For services to Gender Equality in Business. (Berkshire)

Professor John Ernest Nolan. Formerly chairman Construction Industry Council and president, Institution of Structural Engineers. For services to Structural Engineering and to the Construction Industry. (Worcestershire)

Timothy Robinson. Non-Executive director Department for International Development. For services to Digital Technology. (Oxfordshire)

Dr Andrew Dawson Taylor, OBE, FRS. Formerly Executive director of National Laboratories, Science and Technology Facilities Council. For services to Science and Technology. (Oxfordshire)

Paul Pavandeep Thandi, DL. Chief executive Officer, NEC Group. For services to the Economy. (Warwickshire)


OBEs have been awarded to:

Alison Jane Robb Brenchley. Group director Nationwide Building Society. For services to Financial Services and to Diversity. (Wiltshire)

Helen Louise Lamprell. For services to Business and to Equality. (Oxfordshire)

Professor Gerard Gabriel McGovern. Chief Creative Officer Land Rover. For services to Automotive Design. (Warwickshire)

David Geoffrey Roberts. For services to Aviation. (Gloucestershire)

Professor Timothy Rutland Walsh. For services to Microbiology and International Development. (Gloucestershire)


MBEs have been awarded to:


Yewande Modupe Mayomi-Akinola. Principal Engineer Laing O’Rourke. For services to Engineering and to Diversity in Science, Technology. Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Design and Innovation. (Warwickshire)

Diana Lindsey Batchelor. Principal and chief executive Abingdon and Witney College. For services to Further and Adult Education. (Oxfordshire). Di’s appointment to the post of Principal was the culmination of a highly successful 36 year career in Further and Adult Education, starting in 1983 when she was a volunteer Youth Worker for Oxfordshire County Council.

Her career came full circle in 2014 when Abingdon & Witney College successfully tendered to take over the OCC Adult Education service and Di was able to lead the project to transfer the work to the college and safeguard the future of adult learning in Oxfordshire. This service alone continues to support more than 10,000 adult learners each year.

Dominique Karon Unsworth, BEM. For services to Apprenticeships. (Berkshire)

British Empire Medals have been awarded to:

Keith Vincent Cook. Cricket Operations manager Warwickshire County Cricket Club. For services to Cricket. (West Midlands)

Christopher John Day. For services to Adaptive Skiers. (Gloucestershire)

Ciaran Martin. Chief executive Officer National Cyber Security Centre has been awarded The Order of Bath for services to international and global cyber security.

Timothy John Merrett. Dairy Farmer. For services to Education in Gloucestershire. (Gloucestershire). Tim runs Wick Court, on the banks of the River Severn. It is one of three working farms which are part of Farms for City Children, an organisation set up by children’s author Michael Morpurgo and his wife Claire.

The farm is on a bend of the River Severn in Gloucestershire. The house is a Grade II* listed manor house with an intact, square-shaped moat.

Wick Court is a small-scale traditional livestock farm, with sheep, beef cattle, pigs and poultry. Wick Court also has a busy stable yard, where the children help care for ponies and horses. To illustrate the contrast in farming styles, the children also work at a neighbouring commercial dairy farm with father and son Tim and David Merrett.