After much anticipation the names on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for 2020 have finally been announced.
This year’s handout of CBEs, MBEs, OBEs and knighthood celebrate those who have helped the country through the difficult months of 2020 and those who have been working hard throughout their careers.
The 2020 roll call contains many a famous face such as footballer Marcus Rashford, actor Maureen Lipman and ELO’s Jeff Lynne, but some important Plymouth people are also being honoured.
Kate Tantam, Specialist Senior Sister at Derriford Hospital has been recognised for services during COVID-19, alongside the likes of Tessa Ricketts and Muriel Stapleton for their voluntary services to the Girl Guides and Girls’s Brigade respectively.
Senior Officer Andrew Willard of HMP Channings Wood will collect an MBE for his services to HM Prison and Probabation services.
Also collecting an MBE is former Royal Marine Mark Ormrod for his services to the Royal Marines and Veterans. You can watch a full video about Mark’s extraordinary story at the top of this article.
Speaking to PlymouthLive, Mark explained how he felt when he first found out he had been nominated.
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“It’s a little bit surreal you know when you open up the letter, and you think maybe they’ve put this to the wrong house, I don’t know,” said Mark. “I’ve had plenty of time for it to sink in and every time I think about it I’m smiling. It’s really nice because I’m in this charity world, and it can be relentless sometimes.
“You’re constantly swimming against the tide to raise money and people quite rightly get charity fatigue, but it really helped when I read the letter, it helped me refocus and know that I was on the right track, that I had to keep working hard and pushing.”
Other than Mark’s wife and daughter no one else has been allowed to know the news, and the former-Royal Marine is most looking forward to his Nan finding out.
“No one is in the loop, I’m going to get some phone calls tomorrow I think! ‘Why didn’t you tell me?”
The Invictus Games athlete never anticipated his career would result in such an accolade.
“I thought if I finished my career and didn’t end up in prison that would be a good shout,” he added.
It is not yet known whether the full series of events for the Birthday Honours will be going ahead as usual because of the ongoing pandemic but Mark hopes to be able to receive the MBE in person.
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“I hope so because I really want to take my children up there and hopefully meet the Queen, go to the Palace and do it properly. I can’t see why not, there’s plenty of space in Buckingham Palace to socially distance so we should be alright!
“I’m really grateful for it and it’s something that I’m very proud of.”
Plymothian Teresa ‘Tessa’ Ricketts is also featured on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her voluntary service to Girlguiding in Plymouth.
“I’m very proud to receive it, it’s a great honour – but there are a lot of other people that deserve honours as well particularly with nurses around these days,” said the 73-year-old who has been in the Girlguiding community for 66 years.
“I joined back as a Brownie probably in the 1950s and I’ve been involved in it ever since as a guide and then as a leader.
“It’s the friendships you making in Guiding, I’ve made lots of friends in lots of places and I just enjoy it and its lovely passing on things I’ve learnt to the youngsters as well.”
Tessa who is involved with the 3 Plymouth Guides initially thought her British Empire Medal was a joke and is most looking forward to telling her children and other guide leaders that she works with.
“I had an email from them and I didn’t believe it at first, I thought one of my friends was playing a joke on me.
“I had to ring them up and find out and it was legitimate, but you’re not allowed to say anything so it’s been a long time since June.”
Specialist Sister in Intensive Care at University Hospitals Plymouth, Kate Tantam has also been named on the Queen’s Honours list and like Tessa will receive a British Empire Medal for her services to improve patient experience in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kate has been instrumental in the development of a ‘secret garden’ which, during the acute period of COVID-19, became a dedicated space for patient rehabilitation and staff resilience, providing a sense of normality during a frightening, unfamiliar time.
“The secret garden started off as an ICU rehab space to enable patients to feel normal,” said Kate.
“So many patients will say the thing they’re most looking forward to when they leave hospital is sitting in their garden, drinking a beer in the garden, sitting with their loved ones outside in the sun; it’s so important. This has now turned into both a staff and patient resilience space.”