British Empire Medals for Lisburn pair

Arthur "Archie" Mitchell has been awarded a British Empire Medal for voluntary service to the ex-service community in Lisburn.
Arthur "Archie" Mitchell has been awarded a British Empire Medal for voluntary service to the ex-service community in Lisburn.

Two Lisburn men are among those to be awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Ian Bradley MacDonald was given the honour for services to Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the community in Lisburn and Arthur Alexander Mitchell was awarded his honour for voluntary service to the ex-service community in Lisburn.

Legion stalwart Archie Mitchell told the Star that this news came as a real boost as he undergoes chemotherapy treatment.

Speaking about who could have nominated him for the honour, the veteran said: “I don’t really know who nominated me but I have my suspicions.

“I got a letter about six weeks ago but I had to keep it a secret until the list was published on Saturday, which wasn’t easy.

“I think one or two people got wind of it anyway.

“I was over the moon when I found out about it. I couldn’t believe it.

“My family are so very proud of me.

“I was told I would get my medal at a ceremony at Hillsborough Castle in September and I can’t wait.

“I am going through chemotherapy at the minute and this gave me a real boost.”

Meanwhile a former principal of Knockmore Primary School was awarded an OBE for services to Children with special needs.

James Gareth Cooper (known as Gary Cooper), Chief Executive of Middletown Centre for Autism, has been awarded an OBE (appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to children with special educational needs.

Mr Cooper served as Principal of Knockmore Primary School in Lisburn from 1993 to 2007.

Commenting on the honour, he said: “I am hugely humbled by this honour and accept it as recognition of the amazing work undertaken by the staff teams I have been privileged to lead over the years.

“Middletown Centre for Autism is marking its 10th anniversary this year and it is a wonderful acknowledgement of the staff’s commitment and dedication to promoting best practice in the education of children and young people with autism throughout the island of Ireland.”