Queen’s New Year’s Honours list recognises five Bedford heroes


Five people who live and work in Bedford Borough have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

The New Year Honours List rewards the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK each year, with “significant contributions” of Bedfordians also being recognised.

Leading the local list is Deborah Inskip OBE, who is chair of Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends. She has been awarded an OBE for her services to the community in Bedfordshire, particularly during Covid-19.

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MBEs were awarded to Professor Alan Cottenden MBE for services to sufferers of incontinence and Charan Kanwal Singh Sekhon MBE.

Mr Sekhon is the founder and chairman of the SEVA Trust UK and receives his award for services to charity, diversity and the environment, particularly during Covid-19.

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“I am very surprised and feel incredibly humbled to hear this news,” he said, “I am honoured to receive this recognition.

“It is also a reflection on the collective team effort and enormous support and guidance I received from my colleagues at the Environment Agency, UNISON and our fantastic team of volunteers who work with us that makes SEVA Trust UK, a community charity we launched six years ago.”

Mr Sekhon was also recently awarded a ‘lockdown hero award’ from the Environment Agency where he works.

Read: Bedford SEVA Trust UK chairman hailed as ‘lockdown hero’

Charan Kanwal Singh Sekhon MBE

He added, “during the Covid-19 challenging times, we managed to help a lot of vulnerable work colleagues and diverse communities who faced hardships.

“It has been a true partnership and collaborative work with all those who want to help and uplift others and I would like to thank everyone for their amazing support.

“I must thank my entire family. Words cannot express my sincere appreciation for their great support and love and above all the guidance by my parents, who taught me a true meaning of life.”

Recipients of the Medal of the Order of the British Empire were Nikki Anne Iles BEM who was awarded for services to music and Mrs Nicola Rachel Perfect BEM for services to the community in Riseley, particularly during Covid-19.

Congratulating the recipients, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis said: “I am thrilled for the Bedfordshire residents who have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list for 2022.

“We see year on year so many wonderful people in Bedfordshire who work so hard to make sure that all of us are supported and nurtured and this has been ever more evident during the recent times of the pandemic.

“It is so enriching that the significant contributions of these people have been recognised and rewarded. I offer my sincere thanks and congratulations to all the recipients”

Bedford’s 2022 New Year’s Honours List

Officers of the Order of the British Empire

  • Mrs Deborah Mary Inskip OBE DL
    For services to the community in Bedfordshire, particularly during Covid-19

Members of the Order of the British Empire

  • Professor Alan Cottenden MBE
    Emeritus Professor of Incontinence Technology, University College London
    For services to Sufferers of Incontinence
  • Mr Charan Kanwal Singh Sekhon MBE
    Senior Environment Officer, Environment Agency and Founder Chairman, SEVA Trust UK
    For services to Charity, Diversity and the Environment, particularly during Covid-19

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire

  • Ms Nikki Anne Iles BEM
    For services to Music
  • Mrs Nicola Rachel Perfect BEM
    For services to the community in Riseley, Bedfordshire particularly during Covid-19

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