Honour for 83-year-old Samaritans volunteer



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An 83-year old volunteer charity worker who has been helping vulnerable people for 57 years has been appointed MBE.

Alan Woodhouse, a former teacher who helped set up the Samaritans’ Liverpool branch in 1960, says everyone should volunteer because “it will enrich your life.”

In other honours, Sir David Behan, chief executive of watchdog the Care Quality Commission, has been knighted.

And Angela Rippon has been appointed CBE for services to dementia care.

The journalist and broadcaster became an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society in 2009 after caring for her mother Edna, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2004.

She co-chairs the prime minister’s committee to create dementia-friendly communities, which focuses on improving quality of life for the 850,000 people living with the disease in the UK.

She said the award was “a huge honour”.

“No-one who volunteers for any charity ever does so in the expectation that they will receive any kind of honour or recognition,” she continued.

“We do it to put something back into our communities, and hopefully to make a difference.”


Mr Woodhouse, from Merseyside, who is the Samaritans’ longest-serving volunteer, said his honour was recognition of the work of all the charity’s staff throughout the decades who had given their time for others.

He said volunteering made him feel good.

“On every shift I’ve done there’s been a moment that has left me with a sense of purpose, knowing that you are doing something meaningful.”

Mr Woodhouse has trained hundreds of new recruits and raised vital funds during his time with the charity.

Sir David Behan CBE, meanwhile, was appointed to lead the body which regulates health and social care in England – the Care Quality Commission – in 2012 following a report which criticised it for failing patients.

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Sir David Behan became chief executive of the CQC in 2012

Among other figures in the world of health to receive an honour is Prof Guang-Zhong Yang, who is appointed CBE, and whose work as director of the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery at Imperial College London has focused on new imaging and robotic techniques which can be used in surgery.

Minority communities

Prof Elizabeth Anionwu, emeritus professor of nursing at the University of West London, has been awarded a damehood for services to nursing.

She was inspired to become a nurse at the age of four, when she was treated for eczema, and became a school nurse assistant at the age of 16.

Prof Anionwu has since devoted her career to developing counselling services for people with sickle cell and thalassaemia, benefitting multi-ethnic communities in particular.

On the list of OBEs are Anne Jolly, the founder of Sudden Adult Death Trust UK, Sue Baker, director of mental health charity Time to Change, and the chief executive of Young Minds, Sarah Brennan, for services to children and young people’s mental health.

Jane Gray, a consultant nurse, has also been appointed OBE for services to homeless and vulnerable people in the Midlands.

People working in the health sector make up 7% of all New Year honours.


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