Lancashire folk named in the New Year Honours list

AWARDS: Pictured above from left, Lynne Duckworth MBE, Julie Morrow OBE, and John Cowking BEM.
AWARDS: Pictured above from left, Lynne Duckworth MBE, Julie Morrow OBE, and John Cowking BEM.
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A busy headteacher in charge of four high-achieving nursery schools and children’s centres has been rewarded with the OBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

Julie Morrow, who runs a quartet of Stoneygate and Appletree centres in Preston and Lancaster - all four rated “outstanding” by OFSTED inspectors - has won the award for services to children and families.

Julie, who admits to being “totally shocked” by today’s news, is one of a handful of Lancashire folk honoured for their contribution to life in the county and further afield.

Others include a former director at the University of Central Lancashire, a leading figure in the Girl Guide movement and a newly-retired Royal Navy officer who spent much of his 34-year service under the sea in submarines.

Julie, of Broadgate, Preston, has been recognised for her work in charge of the Stoneygate Nursery School and its associated Stoneygate Children’s Centre in the city, as well as the Appletree Nursery School and the Appletree Children’s Centre in Lancaster.

“I’m very proud,” she said. “Particularly proud because I know that the nomination came from people who respect my work and who work with me. I have absolutely outstanding staff in both Preston and Lancaster and this is down to them.

“I am coming towards the end of my time as a nursery school headteacher in Lancashire and at the moment I am running two nursery schools which have both been commissioned by the County Council to run children’s centres as well.

“All four of those organisations are inspected separately by OFSTED and are all currently rated as outstanding, despite the cuts in funding that we have all had to endure. That is something I am very, very proud of.”

Julie has devoted her life to teaching some of the most disadvantaged children in the county. She was brought up in Preston as the child of a teenaged single mum and spent a lot of time in care and with foster families.

“It’s a very rewarding job, but it is also a very demanding one,” she said. “I’ve been a head since 1993 and I will be retiring in 2016. It’s not because I don’t enjoy being a head, I just want to give something back by becoming a foster parent.”

Her investiture next spring will be the second time she has visited Buckingham Palace - she was there last summer for the Royal Garden Party.

Lieutenant Commander Graham Thorley, from Lancaster, gets the MBE for his services to the Royal Navy.

The 50-year-old former Ripley St Thomas pupil, retired in August after a 34-year career, mainly in submarines.

He is described as having made “a critical contribution not only to the success of national and allied operations, but also to the defence of the United Kingdom.”

His citation reads: “His accomplishments in maintaining the security and safety of the United Kingdom submarine flotilla, and acquiring a prodigious amount of invaluable acoustic data over a prolonged period, were of the highest order.”

Graham, who is married to Angela and has two children, Ross and Savannah, said: “I’m very proud and absolutely honoured to be a recipient of this magnificent and prestigious award, capping a most wonderful and enjoyable career in the Royal Navy.”

His last role in the navy was as the Officer in Charge at the Naval Sea Trials Party 30 for three-and-a-half years where he led a small team of underwater acoustic specialists.

He said: “The role was a most interesting and fulfilling experience, giving me excellent job satisfaction during my 34-year career. During this appointment I passed through 5,000 sea days, currently the most days by an individual serving in the Royal Navy Submarine Service.”

UCLan’s former director of advancement Lynne Duckworth, from Preston, is also awarded the MBE in today’s Honours List.

Lynne is a former head of partnerships and head of external relationships at the university and former chief executive of the Preston Area Compact, an organisation dedicated to building bridges between businesses and schools.

There is also an MBE for leading Girl Guide official Mrs Joyce Wiggins from Horwich who is honoured for her work with the guide movement in the border area between Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

The honour for the Lancashire Border County president and former county commissioner comes a year after she was presented with the Chief Commissioner’s Award in guiding.

Renowned musical director John Cowking, conductor of the Slaidburn Silver Band for more than four decades, gets the British Empire Medal for his services to music in the Hodder Valley.

John, from Clitheroe, took up the baton as a 16-year-old and has been with the band for 42 years.

The BEM also goes to Mrs Valerie Gill, of Lancaster, who is rewarded for her services to the community of Slyne and Hest Bank.