Greater Lincolnshire

Two people from Lincoln and a councillor from Spalding were among those named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021 list.

People from across the country were honoured for a variety of achievements, including contribution to the COVID-19 response.

Steve Coupe and Steph Douglas from Lincoln, and Councillor Angela Porter from Spalding, were all awarded with an MBE.

Steve Coupe – MBE

Steve climbing to Col de la Clauere on the French/Spanish border.

Steve Coupe, 72, who lives in Lincoln, was awarded an MBE for his services to charitable fundraising and voluntary work.

Steve served in the Royal Air Force for over 40 years, including as a Training Flight Sergeant for the Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment at RAF Waddington. He also took up a post with a reserve squadron at RAF Waddington between 1994 and 2009.

Steve, who was born in Essex and has lived in Lincoln since 1985, has raised over £80,000 for charity through numerous individual and team endurance events.

He started his fundraising in Germany in the 1970s and has raised money in locations such as Kuwait, as well as across England, including in Lincoln. This has included around 30 marathons, a trek in Nepal, a freedom trail from France to Spain and a tandem sky dive.

He raised money for charities and organisations including Cancer Research, Royal British Legion, Children’s Ward at Lincoln County Hospital, St Barnabas, The Gurkha Welfare Trust, Children with Leukaemia, Guide Dogs for the Blind, and The Ethan Maull Foundation.

Steve in Llanberis in 2013 at the end of the Snowdonia Marathon, which he has completed 10 times.

When asked about being awarded with an MBE, Steve told The Lincolnite: “It’s an honour. A person said about nominating me back in 2019 and I thought nothing more of it at the time and was surprised to get the email recently, I am proud. I won’t be celebrating just yet though due to health reasons.”

“I wanted to put my body on the line for charity and I just got on and did it, but it’s about the people that sponsored me who deserve the thanks as well.”

Steve was also previously employed as a Housing Officer for the MoD looking after families living in Service Families Accommodation in the Lincolnshire area.

Steve (pictured holding the £ sign) at Ali Al Salem Airbase Kuwait. Everyone from the squadron participated in an organised relay bike ride for charity.

The casework he is still doing for the Royal British Legion sees him visit veterans, assess their needs and make recommendations to help improve they standard of life.

He has supported over 100 beneficiaries, whether that is carrying out jobs in his spare time, assisting with the delivery of furniture and painting for veterans in poor health, or helping with financial issues. He has also been heavily involved in the National Health Walks programme as a volunteer walk leader for City of Lincoln Council.

Steph Douglas

Steph Douglas has been awarded with an MBE for services to education.

Steph Douglas, 63, who was born in Cleethorpes and lives in Lincoln, was awarded an MBE for services to education.

Steph has dedicated her life to the improvement of the outcomes for children under five and their families. She is currently the Head of Service for Early Years at Doncaster Borough Council.

She has worked in education for over 40 years, starting as a teacher at Frances Olive Anderson Primary School in Lea near Gainsborough in the 1980s. She has also worked at Leasingham Primary School, All Saints Primary School in North Hykeham.

She later became deputy headteacher at Washingborough Primary School before spending 10 years as headteacher at Sturton By Stow Primary School until 2001. She moved to work for Lincolnshire County Council as Head of Service for Early Years, where she stayed until 2014 before moving onto Doncaster Borough Council.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Steph has shown great leadership and support to the early years sector, as well as to colleagues, to ensure that critical services remained open to support children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Steph told The Lincolnite that she felt overcome with emotion after finding out about her award.

She said: “I didn’t know anything about it until the Cabinet Office emailed me. I am quite overcome by it and delighted to have been nominated.

“The work I have always done in Early Years has been my passion since I started teaching and it is nice to be recognised for that work.

“My passion is making a difference to young children. I think that the earlier you provide intervention for families in need, the more successful children will be when they become adults. It’s a wonderful job and working with young children is the most rewarding thing in the world.”

Steph is also part of the stakeholder group for South Yorkshire Futures, a regional partnership led by Sheffield Hallam University with a focus on improving social mobility for all of the area’s children and young people. She also played a key role in securing the funding for the Early Years Outcome Project with a focus on improving Speech and Language Pathways and outcomes.

Angela Porter

Angela campaigned to get the Spalding Western Relief Road diverted and saved several homes from being demolished.

Angela Porter, 75, is from Spalding and was awarded an MBE for her voluntary services in Lincolnshire. She uses her maiden name of Newton in her professional capacity as a councillor for Lincolnshire County Council and South Holland District Council.

Angela is leader of the independent group at South Holland District Council. She has been part of the council for 48 years, representing the Monkshouse wider area, and also had a spell as chairman for two years. She also previously ran an Estate Agents business called AP Sales with her husband Alan, who she has been with over 30 years and married in 2014.

She represented the Spalding West Ward for Lincolnshire County Council between 1981 and 1993 and stood again in 2013, when she was reelected.

Her voluntary work has now been recognised with a prestigious honour from the Queen. Angela is the chair of the South Holland Parish Voluntary Car Service, which provides transport for people getting to hospitals, surgeries, dentists etc. She has a team of 60 people who have assisted over 10,600 passengers covering 185,000 miles each year.

Angela is the chair of the South Holland Parish Voluntary Car Service.

As chair of Johnson Hospital League of Friends, Angela led on the funding of a new hospital for the district which opened in 2010 and she is also now the president of the Johnson Hospital League of Friends, She is also a Trustee of the Spalding town Husbands, an organisation planning events for local residents.

She helps Spalding in Bloom and every year she manages a team of volunteers to persuade town centre shops to hang up baskets of plants, as well as organising clean grot spots in the community gathering scouts, cubs and brownies.

Angela Porter with her husband Alan on their wedding day in May 2014.

When asked about being awarded with an MBE, Angela told The Lincolnite: “I am absolutely delighted and thrilled and feel honoured.

“I campaigned and put forward various suggestions to Martin Hill (Lincolnshire County Council leader) and the scrutiny committee, which led to the relief road being diverted and avoiding several houses being knocked down in 2019. Someone at the time mentioned about nominating me for the award and I thought nothing more of it.

“I got a phone call in May (from the Cabinet Office) and it took me by surprise. I am very proud and have been a district councillor since 1973, and the only one elected then who is still on the council.

“I enjoy helping people and the challenges that face us quite often and want to keep going on both councils.”

“I’ve got glee for Cleethorpes and Brigg is the best, got the horn for Horncastle, and I like Skegness” are just some of the lyrics of a song released by a sketch comedy troupe, which has had over 40 million views across various online platforms since forming four years ago.

Actors/comedians Georgie Jones from Bourne, Philippa Carson from Dublin and Will Sebag-Montefiore from Leeds, as well as Scottish lawyer Tom Dickson, got together to form Just These Please in 2017. The latest musical performance – Anthem for Lincolnshire – was uploaded to YouTube this month.

The group’s first foray into the comedy world was their debut Edinburgh show at the Gilded Balloon in 2018, before their song ‘When You Order Coffee With An Irish Name’ saw their popularity soar with over 30 million views across various social media platforms and more than 1.4 million on YouTube.

The group has written 25 sketches and songs which are performed in hour-long shows. They were also finalists for the Rockies Best Newcomer award at the Kilkenny Cat Laughs Festival in Ireland, but their Soho Theatre run, Glasgow Comedy Festival and 120-seater Edinburgh Fringe performance were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The quartet didn’t let the pandemic dampen their spirits and focused on their online content, building up a following of over 85,000. They released a new video a week for 10 weeks on YouTube during the first part of the coronavirus lockdown, as well as some festive specials for Christmas.

Just These Please have also performed on BBC Radio 4 Extra, BBC Radio London, RTE 2FM, Talk Radio and BBC Radio Lincolnshire. They are hoping to perform in Lincolnshire in the future.

Just These Please have built up an online following of over £85,000 and the group’s videos have been viewed over 40 million times.

Georgie Jones, who lives in Bourne, told The Lincolnite: “We just thought it would be a lovely opportunity to do something and we wanted to do an ode to Lincolnshire.

“I provided little bits of Lincolnshire inspiration for the anthem, but a lot of the niche references came from our internet research.

“The reaction has been amazing. It’s been really wonderful and people have told us they have been watching it multiple times.

“Bourne have loved it too. A lot of people from Bourne have followed us from the beginning and travelled to see our shows and I’d love to take one of our shows there. We’d love to come to Lincoln too and anywhere else in the county that will have us.

“Lincolnshire is not known for its art scene, so it felt cool to honour the county in a musical way and it was a lot of fun to make.”

Georgie added that she is performing her solo poetry show at Stamford Arts in September and will be resuming her tour of Lincolnshire in the future. She has also appeared in a “funny television commercial” for Smarty Mobile.

Philippa added: “BBC Radio Lincolnshire did a live festival with bands, including comedy bands, performing live from home. We did a live gig with some of our songs and then decided we would write one specifically about Lincolnshire for BBC Radio Lincolnshire.

“We are on zoom with each other constantly and come up with our ideas together, and from being out and about, and then discuss how we can make it funny.”

The comedy troupe are also working on a new show for the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

More than half a million people in Lincolnshire have now been given at least a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and there were celebrations in place for the person who hit the milestone.

The 500,000th first dose vaccination was administered to Ruth Granby at the large centre in Boston, the Princess Royal Sports Arena, on Friday, June 11.

The site is the largest vaccination centre in Lincolnshire, and has capacity to provide around 1,500 doses every day.

It opened on Monday, January 18 to help deliver the national coronavirus vaccine rollout, alongside centres in Lincoln, Grantham and beyond.

Ruth Granby received flowers from Rebecca Neno, deputy chief nurse at NHS Lincolnshire CCG, for being the 500,000th person in the county to be given a first dose. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The Lincolnite caught up with Ruth Granby, the 500,000th person to be given their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and she said it was a “surreal” feeling, but above all else she was just relieved to get it done.

Rebecca Neno, deputy chief nurse at NHS Lincolnshire CCG, vowed she “won’t rest until the job is done”, after the county reached the impressive milestone.

We also spoke to a couple of volunteers and staff members at the PRSA, and they both sang the praises of the “team effort” and positive atmosphere at the centre.

A total of 380,000 second doses of the vaccine have also been administered, meaning the county is getting closer to hitting one million vaccinations.

The moment Ruth Granby got her COVID-19 vaccination. | Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

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