Members of the North’s media, digital and tech communities were well-represented in King Charles II’s very first New Years’ Honours list.
Leading the charge for the tech sector were Elizabeth Scott, Manchester-based client engagement director at Tech Nation; Sam Davys, equality and future talent manager, and formerly early careers, manager at TalkTalk, and Leeds Digital Festival founder Stuart Clarke, who were all awarded an MBE in the new king’s first honours list.
Davys, who was among this year’s youngest honourees, has been instrumental in bringing fresh young talent to the sector in her time at TalkTalk, as well as previous learning and development roles at Matalan and Arco. Announcing the award on social media she said: “I’m all sorts of emotions knowing I am listed on the King’s (first!) New Years Honours list and will be receiving an MBE in 2023 for services to young people and inclusion in digital industries …. little old me! So thankful to [TalkTalk colleagues] Daniel Kasmir and Ian Turner for all the opportunities you have thrown my way and trusted me with, I’m looking forward to the red carpet being rolled out at
Elsewhere, Blackpool’s Professor Dr Syed Naseem Naqvi, president of the British Blockchain Association was also awarded an MBE for services to blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. (Blackpool, Lancashire), while Sarah Munroe, director of Newcastle’s BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art was rewarded for her services to Art.
Munroe was one of a number of leading figures in the arts world to receive a new year honour, with Keranjeet Kaur Virdee, chief executive and artistic director, South Asian Arts UK; Karen Watson, founder and artistic director, East Street Arts, and Kathleen Winnifred Williams, co-founder and director, RJC Dance picking up a trio of MBEs for the Leeds arts sector.
Some familiar faces from TV were also among the 2023 honours – Saltburn’s Beth Mead, who finished up as leading scorer as England Lionesses claimed the Euro 2022 trophy, and commentator and sports broadcaster Chris Kamara, a Wakefield native, perhaps the most instantly recognisable. Both were awarded an MBE for services to association football, while Kamara was additionally recognised for his service to anti-racism and to charity.
Historian, author and editor Helena Whitbread, who decoded the diaries of “first modern lesbian” Anne Lister, who was famously portrayed by Suranne Jones in the BBC/HBO co-production Gentleman Jack, also received an MBE for services to History and to Literature. Halifax native Whitbread’s story is almost as fascinating as Lister’s – the respected author dropped out of school at 13, only to return to education by accident in 1983 when, at 52 years of age, she found herself correcting a customer in the pub where she worked over the authorship of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and followed his advice to return to college.