Honours for digital inclusion, resilience and sport

Sam Davys MBE, Talk Talk

Digital inclusion, business resilience and sport are big themes running through King Charles III’s first New Year’s Honours list.

The North West business leaders honoured include Talk Talk’s equality and future talent manager Sam Davys for services to digital inclusion, for which she is to receive an MBE, at just 30 the youngest recipient this year.

She said: “I’m in disbelief and over the moon to receive this award. I loved every minute of working on project kickstart and to know I played a small part in changing young people’s lives by giving them their first opportunity in work means a great deal to me.”

Daniel Kasmir, chief people officer for TalkTalk, said: “Sam changed dozens of young people’s lives by setting up an amazing program in a short space of time in the middle of a pandemic. The fact so many of those young people ended up working with us permanently shows the value it also gave to us as a company. We got new perspectives and fresh blood, as well helping local 16–24-year-olds disadvantaged by COVID.”

In a similar recognition of digital as a major force, former EY director Elizabeth Scott, the client engagement director of Tech Nation in Manchester is awarded the MBE for services to the technology sector.

Also honoured with an MBE is well-known Liverpool hospitality boss Elaine Clark, owner and chief executive of Baa Bar, operators of five venues in the city and in Nottingham. She’s been forthright in her experiences of developing the business after the lockdown and championing the hospitality sector.

Former Everton Football Club chief executive Rob Elstone has been awarded an MBE for services to sport in recognition of his work at the Toffees from 2005 to 2018 but also at both Deloitte and PWC’s sports advisory teams and at Superleague, where he served as chief executive from 2017 to 2021. 

Helen Webb, until June 2022 the chief people officer of the Co-operative Group is awarded a CBE for for services to equality, inclusion and wellbeing as has Anne Gornall, executive director, Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network for her services to further education and skills.

Care sector leader Martin Jones has been named as an MBE for his work leading care home operator Home Instead and as an active member of Business in the Community’s Age at Work leadership team, where he champions the role of older workers.

Mark Smallwood and Liam Manton, founders of Didsbury Gin were recognised with the British Empire Medal for what the business contributed to the community during the pandemic, shifting production capacity to produce sanitiser. 

At the University of Manchester the most notable honour is awarded to Professor Robina Shah. Already a DL and an MBE she’s been a strong supporter of women’s football as well as a leading academic in the field of clinical psychology. Down Oxford Road at the Royal Northern College of Music, the principal Professor Lynda Merrick, gets a CBE for services to music in higher education. 

In regional public service Janet Alexander, director, compliance operations, HM Revenue and Customs in the North West is to get a CBE, while Nagesh Reddy’s work on the Labour Market and Plan for Jobs at the Department for Work and Pensions earned him a CBE.

Blackpool College’s principal and chief executive Bev Robinson is to get a CBE. She served on the body that produced the Augar report in university funding and is a member of the Lancashire LEP skills and employment advisory panel and a member of the Blackpool Town Board.

Regional politicians receiving honours include Andrew Stephenson MP, the Pendle MP who chaired the Conservative Party over the summer of 2022, and is to receive a CBE. St Helens Mayor Sue Murphy currently serving her second year as Mayor is to receive an MBE for public and political service in recognition of her 28 years as a Labour councillor.

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