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MBEs for ‘Mrs Carnival’ and Frome teacher

TWO Frome people have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.

Carnival organiser June Barnes has been awarded the MBE for services to the community while teacher Simon Pugh-Jones received an MBE for Services to Education.

“It was a very big surprise but a very pleasant one, of course. I’m absolutely delighted,” June told Frome Times. “I had a letter a few weeks ago but I couldn’t believe it. It’s a fantastic honour and very humbling.”

June has more than 35 years service to Frome Carnival, serving as Chair of the Carnival Committee and as Secretary of the Frome Carnival Charities Association which raises thousands of pounds every year for local people, groups and organisations.

She has also been chairman of Frome Netball Club for 62 years and is president of Somerset County Netball Association. She was a member of the Frome and District Youth Centre for many years, and helped secure its future when under threat last year; she is leader of the Wives Group at St John’s Church and Vice Chairman of the South Parade Club Committee.

“I would just like to pay tribute to all the people who work with me on Frome Carnival and the other organisations I’m involved with, as well as my family,” June added. “This award is recognition of the work they do and it’s as much for them as it is for me.”

Frome Carnival’s Facebook page sent this message of congratulations to June: “I am very proud to announce that ‘Mrs Carnival’ as we fondly like to call her, is now a very chuffed ‘MBE’. Our Frome Carnival Chairman – June Barnes, has been recognised for all of her hard work and services to the local community in this year’s New Year’s honours list. What a wonderful birthday surprise for her, when she celebrates her birthday on 5th January 2013.”

Simon Pugh-Jones who lives in Frome has been teaching at Writhlington School since 1989 and has become well known for innovation in science and enterprise especially through his development of the Writhlington School Orchid Project.

The Orchid project has involved students in global conservation, research and horticultural excellence for more than twenty years with highlights including gold medals at the Chelsea flower show and expeditions to some of the world’s most remote tropical habitats.

Simon’s pupils have explored the forests of Central and South America, the Himalayas, South East Asia and Africa and worked with community groups and schools to support effective conservation through raising orchids from seed in laboratories.

As Simon says, “There is no experience for young students interested in science and horticulture quite like travelling to remote areas like Southern Laos to share their laboratory skills with local people and help to make a real difference for conservation and rural development.”

Simon’s work with orchids also contributes to the curriculum at Writhlington and scientific research carried out by Simon’s students has been recognised with a host of national awards including the British Association’s European Science Prize and the Society of Biology Science Prize.

Pupils at Writhlington have also benefited from the enterprise aspect of Simon’s initiatives. The Orchid Project is recognised as Britain’s foremost school enterprise funding pupils work in tropical countries and supporting a host of other enterprise initiatives at Writhlington and elsewhere.

On the award of his MBE Simon explained, “I am delighted that the work of my students and I has been recognised and this recognition will help us in our continuing efforts to develop initiatives for the benefit of communities in tropical countries and of course the Writhlington pupils who put so much into those initiatives.”

2013 will be a significant year for Simon and the Orchid Project with expeditions this Spring to both Rwanda to work with Rwandan schools and to Sikkim in the Himalayas to continue Writhlington’s joint project with the secondary schools of Gangtok.