A FORMULA One engineer who went from creating cars for Lewis Hamilton to producing lifesaving ventilators during the pandemic is among those awarded honours by the Queen.

In the last year, Sussex residents who have made significant contributions to society during the Covid-19 pandemic have made the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Mark Mathieson, who works for the car racing giant McLaren, has been made an MBE for ‘services to the Ventilator Challenge’. The 51-year-old from Rogate, near Chichester, led multiple production elements of the Penlon ventilator, which helped Covid-19 patients.

After identifying reusable parts from old ventilators that ensure regulatory approval, Mark also persuaded manufacturers in the USA and Israel to restart their assembly lines and build obsolete parts from scratch.

Mark and his team at McLaren put their Formula One pedigree to the test and managed to produce 11,700 devices for the NHS.

The Argus: Mark Mathieson MBEMark Mathieson MBE

Mark, who is McLaren’s lead partner for technical services, said: “It was a bit of a surprise, to be honest, I feel very honoured.

“The Prime Minister put out a call to arms for the UK industry to step up and make more ventilators; it was critical at that stage.

“I thought we would never be able to make one of the ventilators, but even though none of us had seen a ventilator before, the level of collaboration that was involved, we were able to achieve the goals.

“Hopefully, we can learn from the pandemic and take that attitude forward, and we will be in a good position for the future.

For the last nine years, Mark has worked at McLaren, helping develop cars for F1 stars such as Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez. He graduated from Bath University and previously worked as an engineer for Mercedes, Illmor Engineering and Riccardo Consulting Engineers.

Another Sussex resident who has been made an MBE is Rebecca Dean, co-founder of The Girls’ Network. Her work has helped empower females from disadvantaged communities through mentoring programmes.

The Argus: Rebecca Dean MBERebecca Dean MBE

After starting the scheme with only 30 girls, The Girls’ Network operates across Sussex and Greater London, Portsmouth, Greater Manchester, Liverpool, the North East, and the West Midlands, working with over 1,000 girls per year.

The 32-year-old from Worthing said: “It is such an honour and a privilege. It feels even more special after this year, which has been so tough.

“We started as teachers, but now The Girls’ Network is a national movement, and it can show girls what is possible.

“They can go and do whatever it is they want to do, and hopefully, this MBE shows them that this movement that they are a part of is recognised and celebrated.”

Rebecca started The Girls’ Network in 2013 while participating in the Teach First programme, a charity that develops and supports teachers who want to make a difference where it is needed the most.

She has also founded literacy Hubs in Portsmouth; these hubs are developing skills in young people to help them succeed in life.

Allan Clayton from Lewes was made an MBE for his services to Opera. He has been described as ‘one of the most exciting and sought after singers of his generation.’

The Argus: Allan Clayton MBEAllan Clayton MBE

He received great praise for his performance as the lead role in Brett Dean’s Hamlet, which had its world premiere at Glyndebourne opera house in New Road, Lewes.

The 40-year-old said: “It’s a bit weird. Essentially, I am just doing my job. I am very lucky in two ways: my job is fun, and I get to communicate with people.

“I just go out there and try to spread music, and it’s nice that some people think that it is worth doing.

“I may not announce myself as Allan Clayton MBE, but this award is about making live music and getting back to what I love. There are far more deserving people from the last year, such as people in the NHS.”

Allan studied at St John’s College, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has won the awards for The Queen’s Commendation for Excellence and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship.

In 2018 he won the Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award and was the winner of the 2018 Whatsonstage Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.

As a keen recitalist - a musician who performs a solo - Allan has performed at venues including Wigmore Hall, London and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in the Netherlands.

Charity co-founder Lizzie Batten has also been made an MBE for her services to young people with disabilities and vulnerable families.

The Argus: Lizzie Batten MBELizzie Batten MBE

She is the disability living allowance project manager for Amaze, a charity supporting families with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Lizzie, from Henfield, said: “What a shock that is, you would expect people who are professors at the university or captains of industry to get these honours, not someone who works at a charity.

“I am very proud, and I think it is a reflection of everything Amaze does, not just me. It is also a tribute to the fantastic work of families who bring up their children who have disabilities.

“It has been enormously difficult for the last year, but I have worked all the way through Covid-19 and the lockdowns; you just have to find different ways of working.”

After having to stop in-person visits, Lizzie learned to use Zoom and Whatsapp to keep in contact with people she was helping.

The 61-year-old helped set up Amaze over 20 years ago after discovering how difficult it was to claim Disability Living Allowance for her daughter Charlotte. Lizzie’s daughter is 33-years-old, has autism and has difficulty communicating. She qualifies for financial help.

Lizzie said: “I am a fairly intelligent person, and if I find it this difficult to get Charlotte the level of support that she is entitled to, then how much harder is it for families who are facing other challenges of their own.”

There were further recipients of MBEs in Sussex. Angela Mooney, 57, who lives in Crawley, was awarded one for services to social care in Hammersmith and Fulham. Director of operations for Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex Leigh Curtis, who lives in Uckfield, was awarded an MBE. The 48-year-old was awarded for services to the Air Ambulance Service.

47-year-old Nadine Benjamin, who lives in Hove, is a British lyric soprano and creative empowerment mentor, and she was given an MBE for services to Opera.

Ceremonial works manager and associate serjeant at arms at the Houses of Parliament, Stephan Jaggs, 57, who lives in Hassocks, has been given an MBE for parliamentary and voluntary service. Christopher Varrall, 35, a police inspector for Sussex Police, has received an MBE for services to policing.

An MBE was also awarded to the senior midwife for public health and education at the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation, Kelly Pierce-Nergaard. The 45-year-old, from Chichester, was recognised for services to the NHS, particularly during Covid-19.

Kate West, 31, who lives in Horsham, is an aviation ambassador and has been given an MBE for services to aviation. Therapist in gambling addiction Elizabeth Avril Karter, 54, has been awarded an MBE for services to gambling addiction in women.