THE QUEEN has honoured three of Ripley and Heanor’s finest in the 2012 New Year’s Honours List.
The yearly roll call of awards announced on New Year’s Eve saw Proffesor Marion Fraser Walker, of Ripley, Dr Deirdre Hughes, of Smalley, and principal of Heanor-based Derby College David Croll, on the list.
Professor Fraser Walker of Amber Heights, Ripley, was awarded an MBE for her 29 years of research towards the aftercare of stroke victims at the University of Nottingham.
The Glasgow-born expert has devoted her career to improving the ways stroke survivors receive help after their ordeal.
The professor, 52, said: “I found out I had been awarded in November, but I was sworn to secrecy.
“I have been inundated with phone calls and emails – there’s been some really lovely messages of well wishing since the list was announced.
“It’s not something you expect every day is it?
“When I opened the envelope I must admit I burst out crying.
“It’s lovely to know that people value your work and efforts – it’s a huge honour. I’m thrilled to bits.”
Professor Fraser Walker, who originally trained as an occupational therapist, said she was nervous about meeting the Queen and had not yet got a date for appearing at Buckingham Palace to receive the award.
Joining the volunteers, health professionals and high profile names such as actress Helena Bonham-Carter on the Honours list is Dr Deirdre Hughes, of Smalley.
She has been awarded the OBE for her services to career guidance.
The academic, of Heanor Road, in the village was awarded for 23 years of work improving the way careers information is given to young people and adults. She has advised several governments at home and abroad, on ways to improve career guidance policies.
Dr Hughes said: “I had no idea – it was a real surprise to me. I have done a lot of work in Europe and far afield and I was just absolutely delighted that this award was given to me.
“I have an 86-year-old mother-in-law that thought she would never get to the palace but now I’m going to take her with my husband and two children.”
Also on the Honour’s List, is principal of Heanor-based Derby College David Croll, who has been awarded an OBE for services to further education. The Ashbourne man has been at the helm of the college since 1995 when it was known as Wilmorton College.
David, 59, said: “I am obviously delighted to accept the OBE on behalf of everyone at Derby College who has worked so hard over the years.”