Our heroes honoured in Queen’s new year list

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A care home manager and a councillor have both been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.

Anita Astle, managing director at Wren Hall Nursing Home in Selston, has been awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for her services to older people and councillor Lydia Ball has been awarded a BEM (Medalist of the British Empire) for her service to the people of Awsworth.

Anita Astle

MBE - Member of the Order of the British Empire

Anita, who lives in Sutton-in-Ashfield, has worked at Wren Hall in Selston for 24 years and has been a fearless champion of improvements in care for the elderly.

The 49-year-old who received a letter from the Home Office telling her of the prestigious award at the beginning of December, said: “About four or five weeks ago I got a letter from the Home Office. I looked at it and thought, ‘What have I done now?’

“I can be quite challenging at times – it’s only things I believe in and think could be better.

“When I got the letter I did think, ‘This is wonderful – there are so many people that enable me to do the things that I do.’

“If it weren’t for them I couldn’t have done it. It’s more about recognition for the team that supports me rather than just me. I am very fortunate to work with lots of wonderful people.”

Anita has worked with health and social services across Nottinghamshire and represented the care home sector at a strategic level to try and make services and care homes better for older people.

She said: “There are bad care homes out there, but if commissioners weren’t contracting then it wouldn’t be happening.

“I have been striving to make the bad better and the good care homes excellent. Alongside that we have been making sure older poople in the community have the best services they possibly can have.

“Regretably older people are the ones that get left because no one is shouting out for them. Who is there supporting the elderly? Very, very few.

Anita added: “My family are dead chuffed! Sadly my mum died two years ago but she would have loved it!

“My brother and sister keep telling me how proud they are of me and my kids think it’s wonderful.”

Lydia Ball

BEM – Medallists of the Order of the British Empire

An Awsworth councillor known as a ‘champion for her community’ was awarded the British Empire Medal.

Cllr Lydia Ball, received the award for her for ‘services to the community in Broxtowe and notably for her long standing service to the people of Awsworth’.

Lydia – who has served on both Awsworth Parish Council and Broxtowe Borough Council for more than 30 years, said she was ‘thrilled’.

The 70-year-old – Broxtowe’s longest serving councillor – said: “I couldn’t believe it. I am just so proud and so humble. Just absolutely thrilled. I think it’s marvellous.

“And everyone has been so lovely as well with all the cards of congratulations. I am quite taken aback. Overwhelmed,” added Cllr Ball.

The popular councillor, who was Mayor of Broxtowe back in 1993 and has no plans to throw in the towel in quite yet, fought for 28 years to get the Shilo Way bypass and was integral in getting funding for the Neighbourhood Pride project – an initiative to make Awsworth more picturesque.

The leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, Milan Radulovic, said she was a ‘fantastic ambassador of the council’ and a ‘credit to the borough’.

“Lydia has been a constant champion for her community and a pleasure to work with,” he said.

“She is a very popular councillor and very well-liked by all her peers no matter what their political persuasion. She is a fantastic ambassador of the council. “Lydia serves with hard work and dedication and continues to support the local community with passion and enthusiasm. She’s a credit to the borough and truly deserves this honour”.

Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry also congratulated Cllr Ball, saying she put her people first.

Ms Soubry said:: “She has won considerable support and respect from people of all political persuasions.

“Over the years Lydia has, quite rightly, always put the interests of the people she represents before any party political loyalty and Lydia has campaigned for many improvements in Awsworth over the years.”

Ms Soubry added that life had not always been kind to Cllr Ball. In a short period of time she lost her husband and then one of her sons – but she continued to serve as a councillor and always with a smile, she said.

“Lydia is a good friend and inspiration to many of us, especially in Broxtowe Conservatives,” added Ms Soubry.