A bumper crop of Yorkshire folk are being honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, including three people from the Wetherby area.
Each recognised for their very different contributions to society, the trio feature in the list alongside the most successful captain in the Leeds Rhinos’ history, Kevin Sinfield, who received an MBE, and CBE recipient Bob Cryan, vice-chancellor at the University of Huddersfield.
They do, however, have one thing in common - they were all surprised to receive the award and pleased to be recognised for a job well done.
Sally Bolton, the manager of last year’s Rugby League World Cup, which saw games hosted across the country, received an OBE and was delighted that it was for her favourite sport.
“I think when you work in sport it is never just a job and I am really passionate about rugby league and I am very proud that I have got my OBE for that,” she said.
“The world cup was the most high profile thing I did so you tend to get noticed more, but having worked in sport for many years before that under the radar it is just very nice to get recognised for the hard work.”
Sally said the award was a complete surprise, however, and called the experience surreal for being so secretive.
She said: “Receiving the OBE was completely out of the blue. It was such a shock that I keep having to check the letter to remind myself that it’s real.
“I received a letter about a month ago and it was a complete shock and surprise. It says it is confidential and they won’t make any further contact with you and then you can’t really believe it is real until you see it in print.”
Originally from Harrogate, but now a Wetherby resident, Sally will soon be moving to London for her new job as managing director for the London 2017 World Athletics Championships. This is, she said, yet another exciting challenge for the OBE recipient.
Still, she is looking forward to the investiture ceremony, where she will receive her award.
“I am really excited about the championships. I think the thing about working on a major sporting event is that once you have done one you learn an awful lot and the opportunity to implement that learning quickly on another big event is very exciting,” she said.
“It is a really exciting new challenge. For me personally it is the challenge of demonstrating I can do it in a different sport and of course the opportunity to replicate the athletic element at the Olympic Park is just fantastic.
“Apparently I’m going to be invited to an investiture within the next six months, so that will be a very nice day out.”
Canon Charles Dobbin is another recipient from the Wetherby area.
As team rector at Moor Allerton and Shadwell, he has been recognised for his work bringing together Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities in society.
Canon Dobbin is also chair of the Diocesan Interfaith Task Group, working to get communication flowing between religious groups.
He said: “What I do is basically interfaith work. That involves getting people together for dialogue and understanding one another.
“I have also done conferences on the environment and that was followed up with the interfaith clean up.
“I have been involved also in an interfaith hustings, getting together people to ask the candidates questions, so we have been engaged.”
Following this work, he will also be going to London for investiture, receiving his MBE.
“It was not expected in anyway and it came as a great surprise,” he said.
“It is fantastic to be recognised. A lot of the work is very hands-on with a lot of staff and when you try to get people to notice it, it doesn’t get the headlines. This award means the work that a lot of people are doing with me has been recognised and that is fantastic.”
Lollipop lady at Scholes Elmet Primary School and grandmother of five Sue Yardley has worked at the school for 20 years and was recognised for her services to the community in Leeds with a British Empire Medal.
The award extends beyond the school itself to her activities in the wider community.
She said: “I have lived in Scholes for 43 years and I have done a lot of things and been involved with a lot of things in the village, but I have enjoyed doing everything.
“You just don’t expect to get awarded for it because I have just loved helping people and I have always been the same.”
But when the letter came, Sue said she could hardly believe it.
“The letter that came had this special mark on it and when I opened it I was in the car with my daughter and it was like when you read something and you can’t believe it. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen to regular people,” she said.
“I am up on cloud nine. I am just over the moon. It is so nice somebody has nominated me. I am sure they must get lots of other nominations.
“It is just amazing. Because I know a lot of people I can’t walk down the street now without people asking if they show bow or curtsey. I just feel so proud.”