Prominent figures from North Yorkshire have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Businessman and philanthropist Nick Thomas, from Scarborough, the Honourable Michael D’Arcy Benson from Malton and businessman Clive Wood, from Whitby, have each been awarded MBEs.
Nick Thomas - For services to the entertainment industry and to charity.
Mr Thomas, 59, founded his company Qdos Entertainments Limited more than 20 years ago and has grown it into the world’s largest producer of pantomimes.
Of receiving the news of his MBE, he said: “It was a complete surprise, I was opening the usual pile of brown envelopes and in there was one from the Cabinet Office.”
Qdos’ productions receive around two million visitors each season and Mr Thomas also operates a portfolio of 12 theatres and concert halls.
He added: “I do something I like doing, I love to produce shows and operate theatres.
“It’s the efforts of the many, it’s not just about me, I’m at the head of the company but there’s many people working with me.
“You never make a plan in show businesses, you make your own luck to a certain extent.
“I’ve stuck to what I know - my heart lies in the theatre and always will.”
Alongside his illustrious career in show business, Mr Thomas is an active philanthropist.
He has been a vice president of the Royal Variety Charity since November 2009 and has also raised in excess of £1.6 million for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital to build facilities for children’s brain surgery and real-time MRI scanning.
Despite having previously met several members of the Royal family, Mr Thomas said visiting the palace would still be nerve-wracking.
He continued: “You’re always nervous meeting the Royal family, it’s a scary experience but a lot of fun too.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Honourable Michael D’Arcy Benson - for services to York Minster
Mr Benson, 76, was responsible for stabilising and improving the finances of the York Minster Fund from 2007 to 2016 and made a successful funding bid for much-needed restoration works.
The maintenance and restoration of the Gothic cathedral is a monumental financial undertaking and whilst a previous bid was unsuccessful, Mr Benson was able to demonstrate the Minster Fund’s ability to deliver the project within budget.
He also spearheaded the establishment of York Minster Revealed - a joint initiative which brings together the Chapter and the York Minster Fund in a legal partnership - to deliver the £20 million project.
He worked in close collaboration with professionals such as masons and glaziers to deliver the East Window conservation on time and under budget.
The restoration of the 600-year-old window (the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the country) involved the removal of over 300 panes of glass and the replacement of hundreds of the stones which house them.
The final pane of glass was replaced on Tuesday January 2, 2018.
Mr Benson said this honour was not just for him but for everyone involved in the project.
He said: “I don’t regard it as a medal for me but for the York Minster Fund and Chapter and all the people who worked with me on that project, the biggest project on the Minster in 200 years.
“I am just the lucky person who gets to go to the palace to get the award.
“Obviously I’m honoured that her Majesty has thought of me but I don’t regard it as an award for myself, I just brought everyone together.”
Clive Wood - for services to engineering, skills and the community on Teeside
Clive Wood, 69, is chairman of Tees Components and Dormor Machine & Engineering.
After leaving school aged 15 with no qualifications, an apprenticeship at a local engineering company and several jobs, he bought Tees Components in the 1970s and took over Dormor Machine and Engineering Company, based in Middlesbrough, in the 1980s.
His business has been involved in high-profile projects including the Channel Tunnel, the Humber Bridge and creating White Gill Thrusters for the new state of the art £200million polar research vessel, the Sir David Attenborough.
Mr Wood said: “I am exceptionally proud to receive the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.”
Much of the development of the two companies’ workforces has come from Mr Wood’s commitment to championing apprenticeships and supporting the promotion of careers in engineering in the local area.
As a result, 40 per cent of the combined group’s workforce have gone through a company apprenticeship.
Mr Wood continued: “We have shown as a company and as an area the importance of apprenticeships, and this honour is also recognition for all the young people who have taken the vocational route and achieved quality careers in highly-skilled professions.”
He has also made a considerable contribution to the community throughout his career, supporting more than 50 charities, community organisations and individuals.
He added: “This is a region of indomitable spirit and determination that flows through everyone who lives and works here, and I am honoured to have played my part in creating opportunities in business and in the community that have helped individuals and organisations flourish.”
David Rogers - for services to cyber security
Former Lady Lumley's student David Rogers is CEO of Copper Horse, a mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) security company.
Mr Rogers is also the author of the UK’s Code of Practice for Consumer IoT Security which provides invaluable guidance for all parties involved in the development, manufacturing and retail of consumer Internet of Things (IoT).
He has worked closely with UK Government departments including the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), as well as leading manufacturers, industry associations and the security research community to create the Code.
Mr Rogers also teaches part-time at two universities, lecturing on Mobile System Security at the University of Oxford and as a visiting professor in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics at York St John University.
Over the course of his career David has been central to the development and execution of industry-level efforts to reduce handset theft, pioneered hardware security recommendations for mobile devices and software update security, as well as introducing vulnerability disclosure to the mobile and IoT industries.
He explained: “There are many talented and passionate individuals involved in cyber security around the globe.
"From the security researcher community - the hackers of the world - to those in government departments, academia and my own company, Copper Horse.
"Much of this work goes unsung, yet it doesn’t go unnoticed. All these people are collectively working to highlight insecurity and trying to improve technology around IoT. By helping to secure future products and services, they are protecting the wider public, allowing consumers to reap all the benefits the Internet of Things can bring to their daily lives.
“My role in securing technology is only a tiny part of that overall effort. I am delighted and honoured to be awarded this MBE for services to cyber security.”
Dr Keith Clarkson, of Filey, has been honoured for services to Wildlife Conservation and Mr Edwin Neesom, chairman and managing director of Hunprenco Ltd. for services to Exports and to the Rural Economy in North Yorkshire.