WHITBY resident Martin Narey has been knighted in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
He has been recognised for services to vulnerable people following a career that has seen him at the top of his game in the NHS, prison service and adoption.
His wife Jan is now Lady Narey.
Sir Martin (57), of Bagdale, told the Gazette he thought it was a hoax at first and despite being a tad modest about the accolade, he said he and his family including son James and daughter Lizzie, plus their partners, are “delighted”.
He said: “I got a letter out of the blue three weeks ago and you are told not to say anything.
“As time goes by you wonder whether it is a hoax. But I started getting a few calls and I thought ‘it must be true’.
“It felt fantastic, it is a great thing and a lot of other people deserve similar accolades.
“I am thrilled, it is a knighthood and not the sort of thing I ever thought I would get. If my parents were alive they would be stunned.”
He grew up in Middlesbrough and despite harbouring dreams of becoming a professional footballer for Middlesbrough he studied politics at Sheffield Polytechnic where he met his wife Jan.
Twelve years ago they bought a second home in Whitby, six years ago making the move permanent.
Sir Martin started his distinguished career as a hospital manager within the National Health Service before training as
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RIGHT: Sir Martin Narey and wife Jan, now Lady Narey
Picture by Alan Wastell, w130102
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a prison governor and eventually becoming director general of England and Wales’ Prison service.
He also managed the Probation Service, where under his reign and for the first time ever there were reductions in re-offending.
He left public service to lead the children’s charity Barnardo’s in 2005 and two years ago was commissioned by the Times newspaper to write a major report on adoption and he now acts as an advisor to the government.
Sir Martin added: “I feel very privileged to have had a succession of interesting jobs and I often think about how working life was very different for my father.
“For 54 years he had a miserable job as a labourer in the steel works and never liked a single day. I have had jobs that were interesting and stimulating and I feel very fortunate.”
*See next week’s Gazette for a further interview with Sir Martin on the ups and downs of his career.