National Honours: Recognising Selfless Dedication in Derbyshire

LIz Fothergill in her Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire uniform, and wearing her CBE.

Scientist or academic, entrepreneur, sportsperson, volunteer, armed forces or public services hero, there are so many who go above and beyond when it comes to serving their local community. If you know someone who fits the bill, why not nominate them for a National Honour? Rebecca Erskine finds out more.

THE honours system has a very long history dating back to the Norman Conquest. It is designed to recognise those in our communities who work tirelessly to make a difference, whether that be through their field of work, long-term voluntary service, leading the way as an innovator or entrepreneur, boosting Britain’s reputation or displaying moral courage.

There were notable Derbyshire examples in the 2024 New Year Honours list. Dianne Jeffrey from the Hope Valley was recognised for her work with Age International and services for older people, and became a Dame Commander of the British Empire. Maggie Throup, the Erewash MP, was awarded an OBE for her services in government and particularly as Minister for Vaccines and Public Health during the rollout of the Covid-19 booster programme; and Chesterfield-born England captain Millie Bright received an OBE for her services to football.

Often, however, the herculean efforts of so many other lesser-known faces go unnoticed. In Derbyshire, it is also the case that fewer people have been recognised for a King’s Honour compared to other counties. The national annual average is 36 – but Derbyshire’s tally of about 28 means a number of very worthy local people go unrecognised.

The Derbyshire Lord Lieutenant’s Office is looking to change that, as the Lord Lieutenant, Liz Fothergill, explains: “There are so many people who work in so many ways to make Derbyshire a better place – whether it’s helping improve the lives of the vulnerable, enhancing the life chances of children and young people, protecting the environment or working to improve the economic prosperity of local communities.

“Nominating someone for an honour is a relatively straightforward process. As well as completing a nomination form, applicants are expected to provide evidence of the impact of the individual’s activities and letters of support from people who know them or have benefitted from their work.”

Applications land first and foremost with the honours committee most appropriate to the work of the nominee, ranging from Arts and Media to Science, Technology and Research. These committees are made up of civil servants and other leaders in their field who are independent of Government.

They are responsible for initial review of the applications, with the main Honours Committee then determining whether or not someone is awarded an honour, and the type of honour. The recommendations are then sent to the King, who awards the honour.

From an application being submitted to the nominee being notified is often a period of more than twelve months; but to receive this highest of national honours is surely worth the wait for the individuals involved and the communities they serve.  

The National Honours…

National Honours and the efforts they recognise

British Empire Medal (BEM): awarded for a ‘hands-on’ service to the local community such as long-term charitable or voluntary activity, or innovative work of a relatively short duration that has made a significant difference.

Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE): given for outstanding achievement or service to the community that has had a long-term significant impact.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE): provided for a distinguished regional or county role through achievement or service to the community.

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE): awarded for a prominent role at national level, or a leading role at regional level, through achievement or service to the community.

Damehood or Knighthood (DBE or KBE): given for a major inspirational and significant contribution in any activity, usually at national level, over a long period of time.

Editor’s Note: The 2024 King’s Birthday honours will be announced on the King’s official birthday in June, with New Year honours announced in December.

More information is available at Alternatively, the Derbyshire Lord Lieutenant’s Honours Panel is on hand to help and give advice at: