Pair given MBEs in Queen honours

Glenis Sanderson MBE''Picture: Ceri Oakes
Glenis Sanderson MBE''Picture: Ceri Oakes

A HINDERWELL woman has had a bitter-sweet couple of months after being made redundant from her victim support role – then receiving an MBE for her efforts in the sector.

Glenis Sanderson is one of two people in the area who have received honours in the Queen’s birthday list, the other being recently-retired Leo Westhead – who also got an MBE – recognised for his work at RAF Fylingdales over a 45-year period.

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Mrs Sanderson, of High Street, Hinderwell, was senior manager for the Victim Support team in Teesside, until losing her job in April.

She said: “During my career I have always worked with people and got a lot of satisfaction out of helping them.

“My background is social care and I worked for Victim Support for just over 12 years.

“I’m devastated to not be working for them any more because I really enjoyed my work, but now this is really going to help when I apply for new jobs.”

Glenis Sanderson MBE''Picture: Ceri Oakes

Glenis Sanderson MBE''Picture: Ceri Oakes

A person is made an MBE, or Member of the Order of the British Empire, for outstanding work in their community or profession and Mrs Sanderson was only made aware of her nomination when she received a letter through the post.

“I was absolutely stunned when I received the letter,” she said.

“When I looked at the envelope it had the Cabinet Office seal and when I opened it, I couldn’t speak.

“The letter comes with ‘strictly confidential’ on it, so you can’t tell anyone.

“I only told my family recently because I didn’t want them to have the pressure of knowing but not being able to tell anyone.”

Leo Westhead, who now lives in Scalby, near Scarborough, also received an MBE.

He said: “I just had a letter from the Cabinet Office saying it was proposed to put my name forward for an MBE, would this be acceptable?”

Mr Westhead retired in October, but prior to this, worked for defence contractor Serco and received the award as recognition for his contribution to the development of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at RAF Fylingdales.

He was recently interviewed on BBC One’s The One Show by Phil Tufnell, who asked him about the “golf ball” history of RAF Fylingdales.

Mr Westhead said: “When I first started it was very heavily manned because this was the Cold War and the system had been put together very quickly.

“It required constant attention to keep it functioning, so it was very manpower intensive.”

Martin Hynes, Serco contract manager, said: “Leo first started work at Fylingdales in 1965 and held numerous positions in software and systems development, ultimately rising to engineering development manager.

“It is well-deserved recognition at the highest level for Leo’s outstanding contribution to the mission at RAF Fylingdales.”

The new MBEs can add the letters to the end of their name now and will officially receive a medal of the Order of the British Empire at a ceremony, known as an investiture, later in the year.

This ceremony takes place at St James’ Palace and involves a leading member of the family such as the Queen or the Prince of Wales.