Our caring county has been widely represented on the Queen’s Honours list this year, after offering endless months of hard work and priceless support during the pandemic and beyond.
Joining the likes of Mary Berry, Brendan Foster, Lorraine Kelly and Dizzee Rascal is Carlisle’s very own Superman, Chris Armstrong.
The 29-year-old has received a British Empire Medal for his amazing work during lockdown, boosting key workers’ morale and ensuring everyone in his community was cared for.
From dropping off pizzas, sweet treats and gifts to NHS staff to board games, books and puzzles to care homes, the caring Chris and his fabulous team certainly played a vital part for many.
Commenting on the Honour, Chris said: “I didn’t know what it was, to be honest!
“My girlfriend thought the letter was for jury duty when it arrived, so she opened it and burst out laughing – I rang my mum and she thought it was a prank too.
“I thought maybe I’d get a thank you or something from people for what me and the [Carlisle Covid Mutual Aid] group had been doing, but I never expected this.”
But once the news had sunk in, so did the sense of pride – but the United Parcels Service driver still remains humble.
He said: “I need to say a big thank you to the great team of volunteers.
“They’ve been absolutely amazing, and some of them have worked from 8am until 8pm, and without them none of it would have been possible.”
He added: “All we wanted to do was support people and give everyone a boost, and we’re so glad we managed to do that.”
Another Cumbrian treasure to make the list is Kate Willard, from Witherslack, who has been awarded an OBE for her services to transport and the economy.
Throughout her long career, the Stobart Group senior advisor was CEO of the UK’s first rural regeneration company, Rural Regeneration Cumbria, before being headhunted for her brilliance by her current employer.
After moving into the new role, which she has now been in for 12 years, Kate was responsible for re-launching commercial services from Carlisle Lake District Airport for the first time in over 25 years – and her hard work has certainly been noticed.
“This is such a wonderful honour, and I still can’t quite believe it’s happened,” she said, commenting on the award.
“I’ve loved my jobs helping to make brilliant infrastructure, growth and creative stuff happen.
“The best bits are always the amazing businesses and dedicated, talented and passionate people you get to work with, and I’m genuinely lucky enough to work with some of the nicest and best.”
She continued: “I understand this honour recognises my services to Transport and the Economy, but nothing comes without teams.
“I’d like to thank and acknowledge all those fabulous people who have worked so hard and so tirelessly with me to help make good stuff happen.
“Thank you lovelies – I share this terrific privilege with you.”
A further 11 Cumbrians have made their county proud, including Penrith’s Malcolm Temple, of Eden District Council, who has been awarded an MBE for his services to local government, and Dr John Danks, assistant group Scout leader of First Petteril Vale Scouts, who has also received an MBE for voluntary service to young people and the Eden community.