Island people and groups appear in the honours list

Pan Together, QAVS

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List was published yesterday (Thursday) including three Islanders recognised for their years of public service. Two Island groups have also been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service — the highest award given to UK volunteer groups, equivalent to the MBE.

Jamie Brenchley, the Isle of Wight Council’s housing needs manager has been awarded an MBE for his services to homeless people, particularly during the Covid pandemic.

Jamie joined the council in 2019 having previously worked for The Salvation Army as its Island manager for homeless services. He said: “I am very humbled to be recognised for the part I play within our local system. However, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

“There is still so much more we need to do to ensure everyone on the Island has a place to call home. It is vital we continue on a positive trajectory and ensure we provide the very best.”

Robert Jones from Rookley, the IW Council’s library service manager receives a BEM for his services to public libraries. He has worked in children’s, school and public libraries and taught ICT in an Island secondary schools. He said: “I was honoured to have been nominated for this award, although somewhat surprised too.

Sandown Green Town Volunteers, QAVS

“I remain passionate about the value of reading for pleasure and how libraries support people’s lives in so many ways and will continue to do so.”

Margaret Beacham, a paralegal from Ryde, has also been awarded a BEM for her service to young people as Chairwomen of Ryde Sea Cadets. An organisation she has been involved with since 2006.

The groups recognised for their voluntary service are Sandown Green Town Volunteers and Pan Together.

Sandown Green Town Volunteers have transformed their town. Each day you can see the volunteers in their hi-viz jackets, picking up litter and improving the environment. They care for flowerbeds, planters and troughs from the Cliff Path to Yaverland. They have also ‘rewilded’ parts of the coastal path and planted hundreds of hedgerow trees.

Their chairwoman, Christine Jackson, said: “It’s wonderful to have the hard work of our volunteers recognised in this way. They are out in all weathers working to make Sandown an attractive place in which to work, live and visit.”

Pan Together has been recognised for supporting their local community in East Newport with their community cafe at Downside Community Centre open five days a week. The centre acts as a community focus, enabling people to meet and receive guidance, support and access to learning, and opportunities to progress into or return to employment.

Laura Byrne, chairwoman of the charity’s trustees, said: “We are absolutely over the moon to receive this amazing recognition, which we would never have dreamed of.

The winning groups will receive their awards from Susie Sheldon, Lord-Lieutenant of the Island later this summer.

Mrs Sheldon said: “I am delighted that the fantastic work of these volunteers has been recognised, and I am grateful for their efforts to benefit the lives of others and to improve the Island environment.

“The high number of awards won on the Island over the last few years, underlines our community’s commitment to serve others.”