Queen's Birthday Honours for three men and women from Lancaster and Morecambe district

Three local men and women have been honoured for their work in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Saturday, 10th October 2020, 7:00 am
Matthew Hood has been awarded an OBE.
Matthew Hood has been awarded an OBE.

The list, which was due to be published in June, was postponed in order to consider nominations for people playing crucial roles during the first months of the Covid-19 effort.

Matthew Hood has been awarded the OBE for services to education.

Matt, 34 and from Morecambe, is a former Heysham High School assistant head who has dedicated himself and his career to ensuring that no child is left behind.

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Matt has been awarded the honour for his role as founder and principal of Oak National Academy, an online classroom and resource hub that was rapidly created following the pandemic closing schools for most children.

Within 10 days Matthew and a team of teachers and educational professionals launched the online classroom, providing high quality video lessons and resources for children from reception to Year 10.

During the summer term, 5m pupils took part in more than 20 million lessons. It also hosted national assemblies featuring the Duchess of Cambridge, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Prime Minister and even the cast of the Lion King.

Oak National Academy is now continuing this year, providing primary, secondary and specialist schools access to nearly 10,000 high-quality video lessons and resources whilst learning continues to be disrupted.

Since the start of September 2020 pupils have taken part in 2m lessons and more than 3,000 schools have downloaded resources. As cases have risen in the last few weeks, pupils in Oak’s online classroom have doubled to 250,000 a week.

Matt said: “It was local teachers who created my passion for education and making sure every child has the best start in life.

“When Covid forced schools to go into lockdown, I was lucky enough to work with a team of talented teachers and colleagues to create an online classroom. This honour is for that team, as without their tireless work Oak National Academy wouldn’t have been able to help children continue learning.”

Matt grew up in Morecambe and Blackpool, attending Great Wood Primary School, St. Wilfrid’s CE Primary School and Lancaster Royal Grammar School. He is the youngest of five children and went on to study philosophy, politics and economics at York University.

He’s an economics teacher by training and was a founder at Ambition Institute. He is chair of governors at Bay Leadership Academy in Morecambe, a trustee at The Brilliant Club - a higher education access charity aiming to increase the number of pupils from underrepresented backgrounds progressing to highly selective universities - and is an independent government adviser on professional development.

His family still live across Lancaster, Morecambe and Blackpool.

Clair Ann Davies has been awarded the MBE for services to apprenticeships and traumatised children.

The 53-year-old, from Wrayton, is principal of Appletree Treatment Centre in Kendal.

Mrs Davies is a founding member of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education's Care Services Route Panel. She has helped to create significant opportunity for employers to bring in talent and build skills in this essential sector.

She chaired the Children, Young People and Families Apprenticeship Trailblazer group which created the first standards in this area, bringing together and leading a group of interested employers from across a wide range of children’s services from the whole of the UK.

She plays a significant personal role in driving up standards and taking forward the professionalisation of this hugely important and challenging sector. She has spent the last 25 years working with children who have been traumatised by abuse and neglect.

In 1995, Mrs Davies helped to set up - and is now the principal of - Appletree Treatment Centre, a cluster of three independent residential homes/schools providing high quality therapeutic care, education and therapy for severely traumatised girls and boys aged between six and 13 years old with social, emotional, mental health and associated learning difficulties.

The centre successfully re-integrates 94 per cent of its children to families/foster families and day schools.

She was also formerly a member of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) Topic Expert Group which wrote the Standards for Emotional Health and WellBeing of Looked After Children; this was one of the first standards in social care that NICE was asked to address.

Thomas Yeadon has been honoured with the British Empire Medal for services to cave diving.

Mr Yeadon, 70, of Kirkby Lonsdale, is president of the Cave Diving Group of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

He is an explorer and has discovered many places never seen by human beings before.

On an expedition to Arctic Norway as a teenager he was the first person to discover and complete, what was at that time, the deepest cave traverse in northern Europe.

He was becoming one of the world's leading cavers when he made the fastest ever descent of the Gouffre Berger Cave in France, the deepest cave in the world at the time.

In Europe and at home in the UK, he continued to make many prominent cave discoveries.

In the early 1970s, he started cave diving. Within a few years, he was to rewrite what was possible in cave diving as he carried out a series of stunning explorations, made possible by the pioneering diving techniques and innovations that he developed.

In 1992 he was part of a team that gave trapped cavers a 'crash course' in cave diving and brought them out safely through underwater passages.

It was a type of rescue that was unprecedented at the time. He has inspired, mentored and nurtured several generations of cavers and divers in the UK and across the world.