Valley trio named in New Year’s Honours list

Carol Holt MBE.
Carol Holt MBE.
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Three Ribble Valley residents have been named in the New Year’s Honour’s List.

Carol Holt, Flood Incident Manager for the Environment Agency has been awarded an MBE for her services to flood risk management and the environment.

Alison Watson MBE.

Alison Watson MBE.

Carol, who lives with her family on a dairy farm at Stonyhurst, has worked for the Environment Agency since in 1991, when she joined as an Assistant Pollution Control Officer (now known as an Environment Officer) in Lancashire.

Married with three children, Alex (12) and twins Anna and Ben (eight), Carol is currently Deputy Director for Flood Incident Management.

Born in the Ribble Valley, Carol attended Queen Elizabeth Grammar School before studying at the University of Leeds.

Asked about how she felt about her nomination, Carol said: “The letter arrived at the end of November. I was so shocked, my children kept asking me what was wrong. I had to quickly make up a story about security vetting, as the letter said ‘Urgent’ and ‘Cabinet Office’ on the front.

“I’ve reflected quite a lot since and am wondering who nominated me and why. I feel what my teams have achieved is remarkable and I have been a small part of that. I’ve also been encouraged along the way by some brilliant managers and project sponsors. So many of my family would be proud, not least my dad who died seven years ago and is the reason I do what I do. I’ve yet to tell my mum. She’ll be living off this for the year!”

Carol added: “It’s great to be part of a team delivering public services that matter to people’s lives and to work with colleagues who care. I have been privileged to be part of teams delivering environmental improvements all my career – from my early days working on river rehabilitation projects in East Lancashire and Merseyside to, more recently, how we prepare for, respond to and recover from major flood incidents. So, what I enjoy is working with fantastic people who are doing great things that make a lasting difference.”

Alison Jayne Watson, chief executive officer for social business Class of Your Own, was also awarded an MBE for her services to education.

Alison (46), who lives in Sabden with her 14-year-old daughter Kate and her husband Nigel, said: “I was surprised and delighted to have been awarded an MBE. I have a great team behind me, and we are privileged to work with some of the most talented teachers and students in the UK. Not only that, we have some incredible support from industry and universities.

"All in all, the students coming through the Design Engineer Construct! Learning Programme are armed with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to reach their full potential in a digital world. 2018 is going to be an amazing year, and this honour demonstrates that Class Of Your Own punches way above its weight as the most proactive organisation in its field.”

Alison, a former Land Surveyor, established COYO in 2009 with the ambition of transforming Built Environment education, raising awareness of the breadth of careers that young people could access in Architecture, Engineering and Construction.

With a mission to develop innovative, contextualised approaches to teaching and learning, Alison created Design Engineer Construct!, an accredited learning programme to be taught within the UK secondary school curriculum.

Her commitment to facilitate genuine, sustainable relationships between education and industry was developed through the innovative “Adopt A School” scheme.

More than 30 globally recognised organisations now support school teachers to deliver DEC throughout England and Scotland, reaping rewards for young people as firms look to DEC schools to provide their talent pipeline.

The third Ribble Valley resident to be honoured was Harry Johnston who was awarded an OBE for services to charity and the community in Manchester. Mr Johnston is chief executive of the North Manchester Jewish Cemeteries Trust.