A host of local people, including MP Jeffrey Donaldson and former Friends Principal Elizabeth Dickson, were delighted to receive awards in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Mr Donaldson was, much to his surprise, knighted in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours list, which was published last week.
“I’m absolutely delighted and deeply humbled by this honour, coming as it does in the year of the Queen’s 90th birthday,” said Mr Donaldson. “It’s very special for me and for my family to receive this recognition. I want to thank the people of my Lagan Valley constituency, who have put their faith in me over the years and given me the greatest honour, which is to represent them in parliament.
“I dedicate this honour as a tribute to them and also to my family and my party, who have stood with me throughout my years of public service. I’m particularly pleased that my wife Eleanor will share in this honour, as she has been a great support to me over the years, as have my two daughters, Claire and Laura.
“I would especially like to thank my staff in my constituency office, who have worked tirelessly to support me in my role as MP, including Thomas Beckett, Gillian Carson and Sarah Wilson.”
Mr Donaldson was congratulated on his honour by members of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council. Outgoing Mayor, Councillor Thomas Beckett, said: “Having worked with Sir Jeffrey for many years as his personal assistant, I am really pleased for him that his services to politics have been recognised by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Over the years Sir Jeffrey has represented the party in a number of roles and he is widely regarded as being extremely hard-working and committed to the people he represents.”
The former Principal of Friends School Lisburn, Mrs Elizabeth Dickson, has been awarded an OBE for services to education.
Unstinting in her commitment, she began her career at Friends’, which spanned 35 years, as an English teacher, and took on various roles during her time at School, including most recently as Principal.
“Everyone in the family is very pleased and proud and husband, Moore, and children Andrew and Katie are looking forward to the presentation in London,” said Mrs Dickson. “It was a fantastic privilege to spend my entire teaching career at Friends’ School and when I began teaching English there in 1980 I never thought that I would spend the next thirty-five years in the School, including fourteen as Principal. This award is a recognition not just of my role, but of the part played by all - pupils, staff, parents and Governors. It has been lovely to receive so many messages of congratulations and it’s definitely a shared honour.”
The Clerk and Chief Executive of the Stormont Assembly, Mr Trevor Reaney, who lives in Moira, was awarded the CBE for his services to democracy and the community.
Mr Reaney was born in Lisburn and has worked for many years in the public sector, serving as Chief Executive of Craigavon Borough Council from 1996 to 2003, as Chief Executive of the Policing Board (2003-2008), and finally as the Clerk/Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly from 2008 (retiring at the end of June 2016).
“I am obviously delighted to have been given the recognition by Her Majesty in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours,” said Mr Reaney. “I have been very privileged to serve the Assembly and other organisations throughout my working career and to make a small contribution to the political process here. None of this would have been possible without the support of my family and the teams of professional and committed staff that I have had the pleasure to work with over the years.”
Other recipients in the Birthday Honours include Ms Sharon Polson, Dr Basil John Farnan, Mr Stanley Coulter, and Ms Irene Knox.