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18 June 2012

Christians awarded in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Christians awarded in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Christians joined famous names including Gary Barlow and Kate Winslet on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List over the weekend.

The list recognises the achievements and services of extraordinary people across the UK, and this year 72 per cent of award recipients were named for their charitable and voluntary work in their local communities.

Among the winners were a number of Christian individuals and charities, including Patrick Regan, founder of urban youth charity XLP, who received an OBE.

He said: “I’m delighted and honoured to receive the award and would like to extend my thanks to Her Majesty, and to all those who have supported, volunteered and worked with XLP over the years to change the lives and futures of so many young people.”

Rev Les Issac, who founded the popular Street Pastors initiative in 2004 in response to gun and knife crime, also picked up an OBE. He said: "This is a great honour and is really recognition of the work that our amazing team of volunteer pastors carry out every weekend providing a much needed listening ear for people on our streets, as well as for school pupils and college students across the country during the week. I am particularly thankful for people who have worked alongside me in a joint effort to build peaceful and strong communities."

Also awarded an OBE was Debra Green, founder and national director of Redeeming Our Communities (ROC), which runs more than 50 projects aimed at creating strategic partnerships in local areas to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

Debra said: “This honour is a reflection of the great work being carried out across the UK through ROC projects and their amazing volunteers who are making a positive difference to their communities.

“This official recognition of our work is extremely encouraging and will act as a spur to step up our efforts to see many more examples of community transformation across the whole of the UK.”

Jean Gibson of Care for the Family Northern Ireland has been awarded an MBE for services to the community, having been the manager of the organisation for 15 years.

“While I am surprised and delighted to have been honoured in this way, I’m very conscious that there are so many others who are freely giving their time and talents to help others. In Care for the Family alone, we have around 200 volunteers across Northern Ireland. Our work could not continue without them.”

Dave Sharples (pictured above with Tony Cluskey, seven, and Darren Smith, eight, on a Kidz Klub visit in Toxteth in 2009) is known locally in Liverpool as ‘Captain Dave’. He also picked up an MBE for his commitment to the children and young people in his local area.

In his 19 years of service at Frontline Church in Liverpool running Kidz Klub, he has made more than 100,000 personal visits to inner children at their homes, getting to know local families in the process and becoming well-known in communities like Toxteth.

Dave said: “When I first moved into Toxteth with my wife Steph, God put it on our hearts to reach out and help local kids and families. Through ministries like Kidz Klub, and by using tools like the4points, we have been able to communicate the gospel in a simple and memorable way, bringing a message of hope to thousands of kids.”

Speaking of his award Dave said: “Getting an MBE is a real honour. I would like to thank all of the amazing people I have worked with over the years, particularly my wife Steph, Celia Thurgood, Nick Gillard and of course the hundreds of volunteers across the UK. This award is for all of us.”

David Smith, who established Christian charity the Boaz Trust, which provides support, food and accommodation to people seeking asylum, was one of the recipients of the British Empire Medal which was re-introduced this Jubilee year.