Essex sports superstars pick up New Year Honours

Beth Shriever from Finchingfield displays her Tokyo 2020 Gold medal

Beth Shriever - Britain's first BMX Olympic gold medallist - Credit: PA/Aaron Chown

The former Dunmow school pupil who won Britain's first BMX Olympic gold medal "can't believe" the year she's had.

Beth Shriever has been awarded an MBE in the 2022 New Year's Honours list.

The honour follows her success at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where she claimed Team GB's first ever Olympic gold medal in a BMX racing event.

The athlete, from Finchingfield, was also crowned Sunday Times' Young Sportswoman of the Year in December.

Beth said: "This MBE is super special. What an honour!

"The fact my hard work and success has been recognised at the highest level is insane and I'm so grateful.

"I would never have thought in a million years that I'd be going to the Palace to receive this award.

"I still can't quite believe it."

Kye Whyte runs to celebrate with Beth Shriever, from Finchingfield, after her winning Tokyo 2020 race

Beth Shriever after the BMX racing final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Credit: PA/Danny Lawson

Beth part-crowdfunded her training ahead of Tokyo 2020 after a funding cut for BMX cycling.

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She studied at Helena Romanes School, Dunmow.

She is one of several Essex sports stars who has received a New Year Honour.

Laura Sugar, a Tokyo 2020 paracanoe gold medallist who is originally from Saffron Walden, received an MBE for services to her sport.

Laura Sugar, from Saffron Walden

Laura Sugar, who is originally from Saffron Walden, after claiming a gold in the Tokyo 2020 paracanoe event - Credit: PA/Tim Goode

Beth's fellow cyclist Laura Kenny, who was born in Harlow, was made a dame in the list for services to the sport.

Max Whitlock, gymnast and Olympic champion from Thurrock, was awarded an OBE.

Diversity dancer Ashley Banjo, from Bicknacre, received an MBE for services to dance.

The New Year Honours mark the achievements and service of people throughout the country.

In Essex, these include Anne Wilson from Great Leighs, who received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to her community.

Dawn Wood, a police constable from Essex Police's Marine Unite, also received a BEM.

PC Wood recorded the second-fastest time by a woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in February 2019.

She completed the 3,000-mile journey from the Canary Islands to Barbados in just 53 days to highlight the impact of plastic pollution.

Queens Police Medals were also awarded to Essex Police chief constable Ben-Julian Harrington and chief inspector Daniel Stoten.