Sussex's finest honoured by Queen

The Argus: Penelope Keith was made a Dame (Pic: Jim Holden) Penelope Keith was made a Dame (Pic: Jim Holden)

She once lived The Good Life but now she has been made a Dame for her life on TV.

Chichester resident Penelope Keith is perhaps the best-known of those making the Queen’s honours list this New Year.

The national treasure, star of To The Manor Born and The Good Life, is made a Dame of the British Empire for her services to arts and charity.

The 73-year-old actress joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in her early 20s and went on to have minor TV roles in shows such as The Avengers and Dixon Of Dock Green.


However, it was in the 1970s that she became a familiar face onTVstarring as the snobby but well-meaning Margot Leadbetter in The Good Life, a suburban Surbiton neighbour of a couple who had opted for a back-tobasics existence.

The star – who has been married to husband Rodney for more than 35 years after they met when he was checking security at a theatre at which she was appearing – has gone on to take numerous stage, TV and radio roles.

Elizabeth Rosemary Meek from Seaford was also appointed for her contribution to the arts.

The miniature artist was made an MBE.

She said: “When I heard that I had been awarded an MBE I was extremely surprised. I feel honoured and thrilled to be recognised for my services to art.

“I have spent the past 14 years acting first as the president of the Society of Women Artists (founded 1855) and second as president of the Royal Miniature Society (founded 1896), patron HRH The Prince of Wales.

Both societies have annual exhibitions in London. I am also patron of the Limners Society. My role has enabled me to encourage and nurture young, gifted artists and this has, of course, been a particular joy for me.”

Another artistic honour was to calligrapher Ewan Clayton, who was made an MBE.

In 2013 the Brighton resident was named Crafts Champion of the year in the first National Craft Skills Awards for his work in educating others in the crafts.

He has also been a committed campaigner for the revival of a tradition of hand-cut memorials in Britain. Mr Clayton has acted as craft adviser to the Prince of Wales’s Charities and is a trustee of the Crafts Study Centre at the University of the Creative Arts, Farnham.

He said: “I am very excited that the importance of calligraphy and writing, as well as traditional crafts of every kind have been given this public recognition. These arts of everyday life contribute in so many ways to the quality of our lives and to the environment we live in.”

Brighton resident Michael Anderson was given the Order of the Bath Companion for his work as the Prime Minister’s envoy on UN Development Goals at the Department for International Development.

He said: “It is great. It is very nice to get affirmation of the work done. I originally come from America so the system of having honours is a little bit unusual although lovely.

“I headed a team with a whole bunch of people including civil servants and people from Oxfam and Save the Children.

“We were working on trying to shape new global goals on poverty reduction and development.

“There were some pretty big policy challenges.

“It needed to be inspiring but also politically palatable across the globe.

“It is inspiring all of us to achieve more.

“And there was a Brighton contribution to the global effort including input from the University of Sussex.

“There were hundreds of people on it and I was the symbolic person who got the honour.”

Paul Fallon, who lives in Lewes, was made a CBE for his work safeguarding children in Croydon.

He said: “It’s nice to havemyefforts acknowledged. I got it for working in Child Protection, it would be nice if I felt that children were safer than they are because it’s a tough time for vulnerable children at the moment.”

David Spofforth, father of swimmer Gemma, was also made an OBE for his work as president of the Institute for Chartered Accountancy.

The Arundel resident said “I felt proud and honoured when I heard this nice surprise. My happiness at that moment was only second to the moment when I saw my daughter win the world swimming championships.

“I have been very busy this last year travelling around the world to promote the profession of chartered accountancy, and also leading the ICAEW in its strategic objectives of assisting members in their work, developing the regulation of the profession, and maintaining trust in the integrity of the profession.”

Elsewhere, Paul Dedman from Steyning was appointed an MBE for services to the St John Ambulance and the community of Steyning.

He said: “I was absolutely delighted when I got to know the good news. It was a total surprise.”

Dorothy Smytherman from Wadhurst was given a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her work at the Bedgebury National Pinetum Forest in Kent.

She said: “I feel privileged and proud, it was quite unexpected. I’m a friend of Bedgebury National Pinetum Forest, I’m a trustee and I’m on the friends committee.

“I volunteered there for all sorts of thing for over ten years, I do guided walks, make tree labels, I run the shop – I started the shop about four years ago. I’ve been going to Bedgebury for well over 50 years so it is nice to have my contribution recognised. The letters after my name aren’t as important as giving back to the community what I get out of it.

“Wadhurst is such a wonderful place to live, and Bedgebury Forest is a place of scientific interest right upon my doorstep.”

Baron Dennis Sanders, from Hove, was also made aBEMafter his tireless work in Hove and Portslade and found out on his birthday.

He said: “It’s bit of a surprise, rather late in life but better late than never I suppose. I am overjoyed.

“I’ve worked very hard as a Hove councillor for 40 years, I was Mayor of Hove twice and currently I am president of the Hove Air Cadets. I’m the chairman of four charitable trusts, we’ve invested capital that has been left to us over years.

“It’s my birthday today as well. The only blight on it is my wife won’t be here because she’ll be hospital for the next couple of weeks.”


The list of Sussex honours


Michael Anderson. Prime Minister's Envoy on UN Development Goals, Department for International Development. For services to International Development. (Brighton)

Michael John Brophy. For services to the voluntary sector in the UK. (Uckfield)
Matthew Dunkley. Director of Children’s Services, East Sussex County Council. For services to Children, Young People and Families. (Australia)
Rear Admiral Richard John Lippiett, CB, MBE. Chief executive, The Mary Rose Trust. For services to British Heritage. (Bosham)
Penelope Keith. Actress. For services to arts and charity. (Chichester)
Paul Michael Fallon. Independent Chair, Croydon Safeguarding Children Board and Trustee, Crime Reduction Initiatives. For services to Child Protection. (Lewes)
Ms Aideen Jones. Formerly chief executive, Southdown Housing Association. For services to People with Intellectual Disabilities. (Seaford)
David Mark Spofforth. President, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. For services to the Accountancy Profession. (Arundel)
Mrs Anne Olivier Bell. For services to Literature and the Arts. (Lewes)
Ms Pauline Estelle Carder. Chairman, Arundel Museum Society. For voluntary services to Heritage. (Arundel)
Ewan David Clayton. Calligrapher. For services to Calligraphy. (Brighton)
John Frederick Charles Davis. Children’s Illustrator. For services to Children’s Literature. (Heathfield)
Paul Victor Dedman. For services to St John Ambulance and to the community in Steyning, West Sussex. (Steyning)
Mrs Elizabeth Rosemary Meek. Miniature Artist. For services to the Arts. (Seaford)
Robert David Taylor Sillett. For services to the community and to charity in Billingshurst, West Sussex. (Billingshurst)
William Leslie Weller. For services to Chichester Cathedral and to the Arts in West Sussex. (Horsham)
David Alan Wright. Flight Data Monitoring Specialist, Civil Aviation Authority. For services to Aviation Safety. (Haywards Heath)

Mrs Joan Margaret Lydia Cusack. Reading Volunteer, Woodlands School, West Sussex. For services to Education. (Ditchling Common)
Baron Dennis Sanders. For services to the community in Hove and Portslade, East Sussex. (Hove)
Mrs Dorothy May Smytherman. For services to the community in Wadhurst, East Sussex particularly to the Bedgebury National Pinetum Forest in Kent. (Wadhurst)
Mrs Isabel Stephenson. For services to the community in Seaford, East Sussex through Seaford in Bloom. (Seaford)


Comments (2)

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1:18am Wed 1 Jan 14

Terry K says...

Mostly middlle class recipients as usual, street sweepers and unpaid carers are more important then this lot combined.
Mostly middlle class recipients as usual, street sweepers and unpaid carers are more important then this lot combined. Terry K

5:46pm Wed 1 Jan 14

ourcoalition says...

Absolutely agree - either honour the unsung heroes, or abolish it all.
Absolutely agree - either honour the unsung heroes, or abolish it all. ourcoalition

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