MBE for a Thaxted resident’s for work in prostate cancer awareness, for a Thaxted resident’s work in education and aviation, and for a nursing and midwifery career inspiring others

PUBLISHED: 14:00 16 October 2020

Diane Sarker, the Chief Nursing Officer for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for her 36 years dedication to nursing. Picture: Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Diane Sarker, the Chief Nursing Officer for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for her 36 years dedication to nursing. Picture: Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Great work has been rewarded through the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Karen Spencer from Dunmow has been awarded an MBE for services to further education and aviation. Picture: Harlow College and Stansted Airport CollegeKaren Spencer from Dunmow has been awarded an MBE for services to further education and aviation. Picture: Harlow College and Stansted Airport College

Karen Spencer, the Principal and Chief Executive of Harlow College and Stansted Airport College, who lives in Thaxted, has been awarded an MBE for services to further education and aviation.

Errol McKellar, a volunteer and campaigner from Thaxted, has been awarded an MBE for services to prostate cancer awareness.

Diane Sarkar, the Chief Nursing Officer for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours for her 36 years dedication to nursing.

Errol McKellar with wife Sharon. Picture: Prostate Cancer UKErrol McKellar with wife Sharon. Picture: Prostate Cancer UK

Karen Spencer said the honour was a great personal honour but she was also grateful for all the support throughout her career, from friends, colleagues, employers, community represntatives and her family.

“I’m really proud that my work for the colleges in both Uttlesford and Harlow has been recognised.

“Education is more important than ever in our current situation, I firmly believe it makes a real difference to people’s life chances and can truly change lives.

“My favourite congratulations message came from a student at Stansted Airport College who I’d helped with GCSE Mathematics – his message about the difference I’d made for him brought a tear to my eye.

“I love living and working in Essex, and having the opportunity to work with its amazing people - staff, students and employers alike. My family have also been a huge support throughout my career and I know they are hugely proud of this achievement.”

Karen hopes to be able to accept her award at a ceremony next year, with this autumn’s ceremony at St James’ Palace postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Errol McKellar was waiting for a GP appointment to talk about snoring in 2010 when he picked up a Prostate Cancer UK leaflet, and thought he should have the PSA test.

Those tests revealed he had prostate cancer. It was picked up early and since then he has been determined to raise awareness of the disease. He set up the Errol McKellar Foundation and is a Prostate Cancer UK ambassador.

He said: “This honour means a lot to me. I’m very proud to be receiving this but it’s not just about me, this honour is on behalf of all of us at Prostate Cancer UK.”

Before he retired he was a mechanic, and would offer 25 percent discounts on MOTs to men that went to see a doctor.

Errol said he was “over the moon” to learn of the award but also wanted to remember people lost to prostate cancer.

“I want to dedicate this honour to those people that we have lost and the people that we are helping to go through the battles with dealing with prostate cancer, and more importantly, to help those to understand and have more knowledge of the effects of prostate cancer because it doesn’t just affect you. It affects everybody that’s around you.”

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Diane Sarkar, the Chief Nursing Officer for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours for her 36 years dedication to nursing.

Diane’s focus has been around leading the nursing and midwifery workforce and developing the quality, patient safety and patient experience agendas.

Diane has a keen focus on nursing and midwifery education and development, and was appointed a Visiting Professor with Anglia Ruskin University in 2019.

She said: “Back when I started my training in 1986 I’d never even dreamt that something like this would be a possibility, so I hope it acts as an inspiration not just to nurses starting out today, but also to those that are still developing their careers.

“Nursing it isn’t just a job, it is a vocation, and it continues to be a large and hugely rewarding part of my life. I am very proud to be a nurse.”

Diane added: “We all know how challenging a year 2020 has been, not just for nursing, but for everyone, so to receive an MBE this year for my dedication to nursing and supporting others means an awful lot to me, both on a professional and personal level.

“I am extremely proud of all the nurses and midwives in Mid and South Essex - not only in my Trust, but across the system - for their hard work, care and dedication.”

Clare Panniker, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive, said: “This honour is really well deserved, Diane has done a phenomenal amount to support and develop nursing in mid and south Essex over the last 19 years. It is also great for nursing in general to see its leaders being recognised in this way.”


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