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Queen's honours come to Kent

Monday 19th June 2017

FOUR people from the Maidstone and Malling area have been honoured by the Queen.

They are among 29 individuals from Kent named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Once again, the list recognises contributions for the community by those from all walks of life. This year’s list includes Gloria Hunniford, an opera singer, anti-terror worker, genetic engineer and the organiser of the World Custard Pie Championships.

Mr Mike Fitzgerald has been made an MBE. The former mayor of Maidstone has devoted much of his time to work in the community, particularly with the homeless. A one-time chairman of Maidstone Homeless Care, he has also become well known as a member of organisations including the Royal British Legion.

He has for many years organised the successful World Custard Pie Championships at Coxheath, which continues to please crowds after starting out as a fund-raising venture for the village hall. Among those at this year’s event was actress Penelope Keith. Mr Fitzgerald was stunned to receive a letter telling him about the award, which he receives for services to the homeless and the community in Maidstone. He thanked those who have supported his community efforts.

Simon Watkin, from Maidstone, has earned recognition for his role at the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism within the Home Office, picking up an MBE for services to Border security.

OBEs go to two recipients from West Malling. They are Mrs Laura Faulkner, the director of live marketing and e-commerce at the Department for International Trade, for her services to UK exports. Mrs Jacqueline Mary Westwood, a director at the UK Genetic Testing Network in London also receives an OBE for services to medical genetics and to the community in Kent.

Gloria Hunniford’s OBE acknowledges her services to cancer charities through Breast Screening Services and Cancer Support in Kent.