TWO of Doncaster’s best known women were given the perfect start to 2012 - MBEs in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.
Charity fundraiser Jeannette Fish and sporting star Sarah Stevenson can now look forward to a trip to Buckingham Palace to pick up their awards after being recognised for their efforts which have helped to put Doncaster on the map.
Sarah’s award comes after an emotional roller coaster of a year in which she was crowned tae kwon do world champion but also lost both of her parents to terminal cancer.
She said: “Wow! They would have been proud. It’s such an honour - I hope my mum and dad can see me now.”
Her father Roy died from a brain tumour in July and her mother Diane lost her battle with cancer three months later.
Sarah, one of Britain’s top medal prospects for the London 2012 Olympics, added: “It is such a huge honour to receive an MBE and it’s fantastic to be recognised for the hard work I have put into tae kwon do for the past 21 years. “It’s also a boost for the sport in this country and I am proud to be an ambassador for tae kwon do.”
Sarah, 28, from Bentley, who won Britain’s first tae kwon do Olympic medal by claiming bronze in Beijing in 2008, had agonised about competing in this year’s World Championships after taking time out to care for her parents but went on to win in the 67kg category in South Korea and dedicated her success to her family.
Her MBE was presented for services to martial arts.
Meanwhile, Jeannette Fish, founder and secretary of Doncaster Cancer Detection Trust, was granted the MBE for services to charity. The honour comes as she prepares to step down in March from the charity she has helped drive for the past 40 years..
Jeannette was instrumental in helping the Free Press reach the £600,000 target in our Scan For Life appeal to install a brand new state-of-the-art cancer scanner at Doncaster Royal Infirmary during 2011, and since 1971 has been at the forefront of a string of huge fundraising drives to help cancer patients.
She said: “I feel very honoured and very grateful to the people who nominated me. But this award is not just for me - it is for the charity we all love. Lots of people have contributed just as much as I have and thousands of people have been involved and they deserve it as much as I do.”
The former nurse began her charity efforts in the early 70s after a colleague died from breast cancer and helped to organise a collection to buy new equipment for DRI.
Since then, the trust has raised funds to purchase nearly a 100 items of vital life-saving equipment, but her lasting legacy will be the £2 million Balby’s St John’s Hospice which opened in 1992.
Former Archdeacon of Doncaster, the Venerable Bob Fitzharris, chairman of DCDT said: “All her life Jeannette has served others.
“For the last 40 years she has been the driving force behind DCDT. Without Jeannette Doncaster would not have a hospice. It has been a privilege to serve with her. I hope the population of Doncaster feel proud of her.”
Former South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Med Hughes was awarded the CBE after a police career spanning 32 years. He retired from the force in 2010 and was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in the 2006 New Year’s Honours list.
There was also a Commander-in-Chief Air Command commendation for Flt Ltn Gemma Lonsdale, who worked with her dad Tony, chief fire officer at Robin Hood Airport, to collect and send out hundreds of mince pies to troops in Afghanistan as a festive treat.