King’s Birthday Honours 2023: All those honoured in Cambridgeshire as cancer drug pioneer Steve Jackson earns knighthood and economist Diane Coyle becomes a dame

By Paul Brackley

The first King’s birthday honours of Charles’ reign have been revealed – and the Cambridge region is well represented, with healthcare leaders, trailblazing researchers and community stalwarts honoured.

Terry Waite becomes a Knight Commander for his work for the hostage community, while blockbuster cancer drug pioneer Prof Steve Jackson is knighted, leading economist Prof Diane Coyle becomes a dame and Cambridge University Hospital chief executive Roland Sinker is made a CBE.

Meanwhile, long-serving sub-postmistress Patricia Covington has earned a British Empire Medal for her services to Steeple Morden.

Here are all those from the Cambridge region honoured in the list.

Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George

Terry Waite CBE, co-founder and president of Hostage International, has become a Knight Commander for services to charity and to humanitarian work.

Dr Waite, 84, was kidnapped and held captive from 1987 to 1991 while trying to negotiate the release of hostages in Lebanon.

Today, he continues to play a crucial role in providing emotional and practical support to people in the UK and internationally, including hostages and their families, children, young people and the homeless.

Upon his release, he was elected a fellow commoner at Trinity Hall, where he wrote his first book,Taken on Trust, and in 2022 he was elected an honorary fellow.

He is also president of the Waterbeach-based homeless charity Emmaus UK.

Trinity Hall master Mary Hockaday said: “We are delighted to hear of this honour for Terry Waite. His connection to the college dates back to when he first returned to the UK after a lengthy period of captivity. His life has been exemplified by his humanitarian work and we were very pleased when he took up his honorary fellowship of Trinity Hall in 2022.”


Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Professor Diane Coyle CBE, the Bennett professor of public policy at the University of Cambridge, becomes a dame for services to economics.

Prof Coyle has long been one of the world’s leading economists. Since her CBE in 2018, she has consolidated this position through ground-breaking contributions to economic policy and practice and commitment to public service, including dedicated work to raise the public profile of economics.

She was appointed Bennett professor of public policy at the University of Cambridge in 2018 and co-director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy. A significant strand of her recent work focuses on moving beyond GDP, using a new measurement framework centred on six types of economic capital: physical, financial, natural, intangible, human and social. Her contributions to the practice of economics are also considerable, playing a crucial role in challenging and improving how and what economists measure. Similar themes are explored in her 2021 book Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is And What It Should Be.

She said: “This is an amazing honour; and any achievement on my part is thanks to the commitment of all my Bennett Institute colleagues to using insights from our research and engagement to help inform public policies.

“I am delighted by the recognition that academic research can make a contribution to policy discussions, especially at a time when the world is facing so many challenges.”

Knight Batchelor – Knighthood

Professor Stephen Jackson is knighted for services to innovation and research.

The University of Cambridge Frederick James Quick professor of biology and senior group leader at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute is an expert in DNA repair.

His work led to the creation of the blockbuster cancer drug Olaparib – the world’s first marketed DNA repair enzyme inhibitor.

And he has founded three companies to translate his research – KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, Mission Therapeutics and Adrestia Therapeutics. KuDOS went on to become part of AstraZeneca and Olaparib has so far treated 60,000 people with various cancers.

He spent 31 years at the University of Cambridge’s Gurdon Institute before moving his lab last year to the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute.

He told the Cambridge Independent: “Recognition like this doesn’t happen overnight and, in my case, without the support of Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

“Where we are right now, CRUK has provided funding throughout my entire independent scientific career – to the tune of between £15m and £20m.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and still pinching myself about the knighthood, but most of all I feel very lucky to be a cell biologist funded well to do cool science.”

Look out for an exclusive feature from Sir Stephen in this week’s Cambridge Independent – out from Wednesday.

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Professor David Abulafia, emeritus professor of Mediterranean history at the University of Cambridge, is made a CBE for services to scholarship.

Prof Abulafia, 73, from Cambridge, has focused on Italy, Spain and the rest of the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

“It’s just so very heartwarming,” he said. “It’s often been said that mathematicians peak in their 30s. Historians, I think, tend to do our best work as our careers develop. It’s extremely gratifying to get recognition for what one considers one’s best work.”

Educated at King’s College, Cambridge, he spent most of his career at the university, where he chaired the history faculty from 2003-5 and was a member of the governing council in 2008. He became a professor at the age of 50 and retired in 2017 as professor emeritus of Mediterranean history. A fellow of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, he is also visiting Beacon professor at the new University of Gibraltar and a visiting professor at the College of Europe (Natolin branch, Poland).

A fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Academia Europaea, he was awarded one of three inaugural British Academy Medals for his work on Mediterranean history in 2013 and won the Wolfson History Prize in 2020 for The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans.

Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith, pro-vice-chancellor for research and international partnerships, and the Arthur Balfour professor of genetics at the University of Cambridge, is made a CBE for services to medical research.

Prof Ferguson-Smith, who was the head of the university’s Department of Genetics until December 2020, is a mammalian developmental geneticist and epigeneticist.

She is an expert in genomic imprinting, and her team studies the epigenetic control of genome function, particularly epigenetic inheritance.

Elected to EMBO in 2006 and the UK Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012, she became a fellow of the Royal Society in 2017 before becoming pro-vice-chancellor for research (interim) at the University of Cambridge in January 2021.

She said: “I’m very honoured to be awarded this CBE in recognition of our discovery research in the field of genomic imprinting and epigenetic inheritance.

“I am delighted to accept this on behalf of an amazing set of talented researchers from the UK and internationally with whom I work. I hope this highlights the importance of the field and inspires others to take up a career in fundamental biomedical research.”

Simon Lebus, interim chief regulator of Ofqual, is made a CBE for services to educational assessment.

Mr Lebus took up the role at Ofqual in January 2021 and has worked in the education sector since 2002, most notably as chief executive of Cambridge Assessment between 2002 and 2018.

Mr Lebus also worked with exam board OCR, having been appointed chairman in 2004.

Prior to his years at Cambridge Assessment and taking on his Ofqual position, he spent 14 years occupying a variety of senior management roles at firms including Kitchen Range Foods, OSI Industries and McKey Food Service.

Within Cambridge Assessment, Simon was a bye-fellow of Emmanuel College and has also served on the board of the University Education Faculty, as a member of the management committee of the Cambridge University Centre for Applied Research in Education Technologies and as executive chair of the Cambridge Trusts.

Mr Lebus is an alumnus of St John’s College, Oxford, where he graduated with a first-class honours degree in modern history. He then attended St Antony’s College, also at the University of Oxford, where he studied for three years as a postgraduate research student.

Roland Sinker, chief executive of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, becomes a CBE for services to healthcare.

The honour recognises his service to Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie hospitals, along with his extensive work within the wider Cambridge life sciences system and nationally to advise on, shape and influence policy priorities across the health and care sector.

He led the CUH team through the Covid pandemic, and is driving the planning for the new children’s and cancer research hospitals in Cambridge.

Mike More, chair of CUH, said: “I am delighted that Roland’s outstanding contribution to our hospitals and the wider health system has been recognised through this honour.”

Mr Sinker said: “I am tremendously proud to receive this Honour. It is a huge privilege to work at CUH with such dedicated and inspiring colleagues whose commitment I see every day and without which we would be nothing.”

Read more on Roland’s honour in our separate story.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Dr Edmund Garratt, chief executive of NHS Suffolk and North East Essex, is made an OBE for services to the integrated care system.

Dr Garratt, from Cambridge, is a health leader who led the response across Suffolk and north east Essex to the Covid-19 pandemic and led its vaccination campaign, which has consistently been highlighted as one of the best performing areas in the country for its work to ensure as many eligible people as possible were vaccinated.

He has worked in the system for over a decade and was the chief executive of the local clinical commissioning groups from 2016-22, gaining an ‘outstanding’ rating in all three.

Since 2019, Dr Garratt has led the Integrated Care System (ICS) and has been responsible for establishing strong partnerships between the NHS, local authorities and voluntary sector organisations, as well as local universities.

He is a founding member of the University of Suffolk’s Integrated Care Academy – a partnership between the university, Healthwatch Suffolk, Suffolk County Council and the Integrated Care Board, which aims to support the provision of integrated care across the county and wider, particularly focusing on the areas of mental health and end of life care.

Dr Garratt also sponsors the Essex Anchor Institutions’ Network, a group which connects non-profit, public sector organisations, pledges and local initiatives to the wellbeing of the population, and the Care Tech campus being developed at the University of Essex.

He has worked on major national policy by supporting the development of the NHS Constitution (2009) and the government’s NHS White Paper (2021).

The chairman of the Suffolk and North East Essex ICB, Professor Will Pope, said: “On behalf of the board, I am absolutely delighted to congratulate Ed on the award of his OBE.

“Ed is a fantastic leader and a role model for the many thousands of staff and volunteers who work within this terrific health and care system.

“His leadership style is based on a strong set of values that he holds in high regard, which are around creativity, collaboration and kindness.

“This is thoroughly well-deserved recognition and is testament to Ed’s leadership which makes a positive difference to our communities.”

Dr Garratt said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this award and I do so on behalf of the brilliant and hard-working colleagues, partners and volunteers across our health and social care system.

“It is a privilege to work in Suffolk and north east Essex and I am very motivated to continue to drive forward the progress which we have made in our recovery from the pandemic.”

Roland Owers, known as Roly, is a qualified veterinary surgeon and has been chief executive of World Horse Welfare since 2008.

Mr Owers, of Cambridge, graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1992 and acquired his masters degree in Nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1997. His previous veterinary roles included the Blue Cross and Royal Army Veterinary Corps.

Mr Owers, who has been honoured for services to equine welfare in the UK and abroad, said: “It is a true privilege to be entrusted with leading the work of World Horse Welfare, and I am hugely thankful to my team and my family as this is as much for them as for me.

“What I find inspiring is that recognition at this level demonstrates the continued relevance of horses to society and the part we all play in protecting their welfare for future generations.”

The World Horse Welfare’s mission is to work with horses, horse owners, communities, organisations and governments to help improve welfare standards and stamp out suffering in the UK and worldwide.

World Horse Welfare chairman Michael Baines added: “I am delighted that Roly has been recognised for his unceasing hard work, leadership and drive which has been instrumental to the success of World Horse Welfare.

“He has embodied the compassionate, pragmatic approach to improving the lives of horses that has inspired the charity since it was founded by Ada Cole and continues to make us so relevant today.”

Patricia Pritchard, chair of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area, is made an OBE for services to education and to social mobility in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire

The Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area works to reduce the attainment gap for disadvantaged children and young people through the development of communication, language and reading. It also aims to strengthen the effectiveness of support for children and young people with mental health concerns and those with special educational needs.

Ms Pritchard, from Ely, has had more than 40 years’ experience in education as a former teacher, headteacher and Ofsted inspector. As a member of the Ofsted senior management team, Patricia was the national policy lead for the inspection of initial teacher training. Patricia has supported many schools, offering advice and guidance on school improvement, leadership and governance.

She has strong links to Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, previously working closely with schools as the director of education for the Diocese of Ely and chief executive of the Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust.

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson, associate professor of classics and ancient history at Durham University, has been made an MBE for services to education.

Dr Holmes-Henderson, who is from Ely, did her PGCE at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2005 and taught at various schools locally, before going on to become an academic after finishing her doctorate in 2013.

She said of the award: “I was shocked and surprised but delighted.” On her connection to Cambridge, she continued: “I was a high school teacher for more than a decade; I taught at Parkside Community College and at Impington Village College, and there I was teaching Latin and classical civilisation.

“I’m now an academic but I continue to be involved locally as a steering group member of the Classical Association, the Cambridge branch.”

Dr Holmes-Henderson is keen on widening access to the study of classics in state schools and is currently running several projects to help state school pupils learn more about the ancient world.

Robin Lipscombe, learning facilitator at Marshall Skills Academy, Cambridge, has been made an MBE for services to further education and skills.

A skilled, hands-on craftsperson in engineering crafts including sheet metal work, assembly and welding, woodworking, pattern making and setting-out, Mr Lipscombe, from Cambridge, has taught thousands of people in a career spanning more than half a century.

Marshall Skills Academy said his contribution to the development of the next generation of aerospace engineers over several decades cannot be overstated.

He first joined Marshall as an apprentice in 1971. After spending time as a production planner helping to build full-size prototype vehicle bodies, he joined the training centre to help deliver the renowned Marshall apprenticeship programme.

As a learning facilitator, he has helped others develop their engineering skills, with many of the apprentices he has trained going on to become respected, award-winning leaders in the global aerospace industry.

Marshall Skills Academy general manager Dan Edwards said: “Robin has made an extraordinary contribution to the Marshall business over 52 years during which time he has trained more than 12,000 people including apprentices who have gone on to enjoy long and successful careers in automotive, aviation, technology and general engineering.

“We are delighted that his tireless dedication to helping his learners to fulfil their true potential has been recognised with this very well-deserved honour.”

Mr Lipscombe also received the 2022 Apprentice Manager/Mentor Award from Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council.

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)

Patricia Covington has earned a British Empire Medal for services to people in Steeple Morden.

Ms Covington, who is known as Tricia, retired as sub-postmistress at Steeple Morden Post Office in January after 36 years at the helm.

Caroline Witham-Grange, Post Office area manager, added: “Tricia has dedicated her life to serving this community for 36 years as postmistress.

“Patricia really is at the heart of Steeple Morden village. I want to thank for her devoted service. I hope Tricia enjoys her well-earned retirement and I am sure all of her volunteering will still keep her very busy.”

Upon hearing that she’d been awarded the BEM, Ms Covington told the Cambridge Independent that she felt “very emotional because it was such a surprise”. She added: “Such a shock, but a wonderful one as well.”

Congratulations to all those earning honours.