Region well represented in NY honours

West Midlands people with industry and rural links were named in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, including a farming couple who have fostered hundreds of children.

Shirley and John Hanson, who farm near Leominster, have fostered more than 300 children in nearly four decades and were named MBEs in the list.

The Leominster NFU members received the honour for their services to children and family.

The couple, who foster for Herefordshire Council, have cared for up to five children at a time while running the family farm with their two sons.

Anthony Burgess, the chairman of Harper Adams University Development Trust, was also awarded an MBE for his services to higher education, governance and fundraising.

Before joining the Shropshire university, at Edgmond, near Newport, he was the managing director of a family-owned farm equipment distribution company and remained as a non-executive director when he retired after three decades.

He now has a 70 acre arable and timber growing farm in the county.

Nicholas Smith, of Eaton Bishop, a Forestry Commission woodland officer, received the OBE for services to the forestry and environmental sectors in Herefordshire and to ornithology.

While Sir Roy Strong, of Herefordshire, was awarded the Companion of Honour, CH, which is awarded to those who have done service of conspicuous national importance.

Members of the order, limited to 65 people, include Lucian Freud, Professor Stephen Hawking, Sir David Attenborough, Sir John Major and Dame Judi Dench among others.

Sir Roy, a historian and former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, received the honour for services to culture.

He and his late wife, the designer Julia Trevelyan Oman, purchased The Laskett, a property between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye, and created the renowned Laskett Gardens.

These are the largest private formal gardens to be created in England since 1945 and include many highly regarded horticultural features; these include a rose garden, pleached lime avenue, kitchen and knot garden as well as rich herbaceous borders, prairie-style borders and topiary.

The garden tells the story of the couple’s marriage and their creative lives in the arts and the orchard has a collection of unusual apple varieties.

More than ten other honours went to people from across the region for services to the community and for their work in their chosen fields, including South Staffordshire councillor Brian Edwards who received the MBE for services to local Government.

They are expected to travel to London in the months ahead for the honours ceremony.

For further information on those with a link to food, farming and the rural community in the Queen's New Year Honours, visit this page.

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