Yorkshire leaders recognised in New Year’s honours list

Sharon Watson, CEO & Principal Northern School of Contemporary Dance ©NSCD
X The Business Desk

Register for free to receive latest news stories direct to your inbox


Leading business figures across Yorkshire and the Humber are celebrating after being named in the 2021 Queen’s New Year Honours List.

This year’s awards go to those who have excelled in their field and are widely thought of as a recognition from their peers.

Food retailers were well recognised nationally, with the Yorkshire-born, former Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis is awarded a knighthood and Ocado chief executive Melanie Smith given a CBE. Alongside this a handful of more junior staff from Asda and Morrisons received awards.

There were relatively few business people recognised in the 2021 list, continuing a trend of recent years. However Lee Hallam the chief executive officer and founder of Sheffield-based Linbrooke Services receives an OBE and Stuart Lamb, chairman of William Lamb Group received an MBE with both recognised for services to to business and skills.

Alongside them, Jonathan Britton the non-executive director of the Sheffield-headquartered British Business Bank receives an OBE for services to small business finance.

Recipients from the worlds of sport and popular culture are also less prominent than usual, although F1 champion Lewis Hamilton is knighted and actress Shiela Hancock is made a dame. While former Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow’s has also been awarded an MBE for services to rugby and to Motor Neurone Disease awareness.

There are also MBEs for Sharon Watson, lately artistic director, Phoenix Dance Theatre, and chief executive and principal of Northern School of Contemporary Dance and also for David Hamilton, the founder of Phoenix Dance Theatre, with both recognised for services to Dance.

Watson said the award was “an enormous honour and a huge privilege”. Adding that: “Dance is my passion and it’s wonderful to be acknowledged in this way.

“I sincerely hope I am an example of what the power of dance can do! It’s not a cliche when I say dance can change lives, it really can. We should not underestimate what can be achieved through dance. This award affirms what I believe is possible.”

Gillian Coultard, 57, from Castleford has also been awarded an MBE for services to football. She was the first woman and amateur player to have reached over 100 caps for England.

At club level, she won two National League titles and six FA Women’s Cup finals during 24 years with Doncaster Belles. Making over 300 appearances and becoming a key player in the side which dominated women’s football in England.

NHS and healthcare professionals feature heavily in this year’s list with Yorkshire represented by Prof Adewale Adebajo, a consultant rheumatologist at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, who receives an MBE. as well as Laura Norris, head of strategy and policy for specialised services at NHS England and NHS Improve is recognised for services to the NHS during Covid-19.

Two professors from the region’s universities have been included in the honours list.

Prof Lorraine Maltby, a professor of environmental biology at the University of Sheffield receives an OBE for services to environmental biology, animal and plant sciences. While at the city’s other university, Sheffield Hallam, Prof Hora Soltani- Karbaschi, a professor of maternal and infant health, receives an MBE.

Other members of the region to be recognised include Kim Leadbeater an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation and chair of More in Common Batley and Spen receives an MBE for services to social cohesion.

With the region’s third sector also represented by Mary Chapman, founder of Nuzzlets Charity in York who becomes a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire, alongside Hull’s Dean Hoggard the founder of Life for a Kid Foundation.

Other awards include an OBE for Amanda Bennett the executive principal at Greetland Primary Academy in Calderdale and the CEO of Great Heights Academy Trust for services to education in West Yorkshire.

While Bicholas Rust, lately chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority also receives an OBE for services to the sector which brings in over £300m to the region’s economy a year.