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New Year Honours: Cystic fibrosis doctor dedicated her career to research disease.

Dr Sarah Walters has cystic fibrosis and has dedicated much of her professional career to researching the debilitating condition.

Today, in recognition of her work at the University of Birmingham, she is made an OBE for services to medicine.

Dr Walters, who lives in Tamworth, Staffordshire, with her partner and three cats, is senior clinical lecturer in public health and epidemiology at the University of Birmingham. She is believed to be the first and only medical consultant in the UK with cystic fibrosis. Before this she worked as a registrar in public health medicine, respiratory medicine and general medicine.

Her personal experience of the disease, which attacks the lungs, has given her first-hand knowledge of the symptoms and problems of cystic fibrosis. As a result she has been involved in research into the disease and in the planning and provision of care for sufferers.

Dr Kate Thomas, a public health colleague from the university, said Dr Walters was a 'remarkable' person.

'She is the first medical consultant with cystic fibrosis and also does a lot of work with the Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust,' she said.

'She had a very bad car accident a few years ago but survived that and really is a truly remarkable woman.' Dr Walters is also course director for the master's programme in public health at the University of Birmingham and runs academic programmes for trainees in public health preparing for the Faculty of Public Health Medicine examinations.

Valerie Weddell-Hall, headteacher of Franche Community First School in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, for 20 years is honoured with an OBE for services to education. She said the award was a genuine thrill and wanted to praise every teacher, parent and pupil she had ever worked with.

'This is a genuine honour and I find it difficult to express just how much it means to me,' she said.

Professor Roy Harrison has been advising the Government on his specialist area of air pollution for the past 20 years.

And today, the Queen Elizabeth II Birmingham Centenary Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Birmingham, is made an OBE for his services to environmental sciences.

Prof Harrison, who lives in Stourport on Severn, Worcestershire, with his wife and family, has chaired two advisory committees for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and is a member of several Department of Health committees. He joined the University of Birmingham in 1991 after lecturing for several years at Lancaster and Essex universities.

Last night, he said of his award: 'I am absolutely thrilled with it. We have made very real progress on air pollution through the kind of scientific advice I can give to the committees. But there is lots more to be done in this field and I look forward to continuing my work.'

Vivien Griffiths, who is also made an OBE is credited with helping to put the city at the national forefront in the field. Her time with Birmingham's library and lifelong learning services saw the pilot of Book Start -a scheme that encouraged parents to read to their pre-school age children that now operates in every authority in the country.

Mrs Griffiths, aged 56, was also editor of a national report setting out the future agenda of library services for young people called Start With the Child and is currently vice-chairman of The Reading Agency that works to inspire a love of books in youngsters. During her career she was active in overseeing the creation of the Centre for the Child and the Childcare Information Bureau. She also sits on the steering group for Birmingham's new central library and until 18 months ago was acting director of leisure and culture for the city.

Mrs Griffiths said: 'I am very flattered and delighted to get this. I love the fact that it has come to Birmingham because I believe we have one of the best library services in the country.'

Richard Clark is a Birmingham housing boss who was recently chosen to head an organisation which influences Government policy on urban regeneration.

The chief executive of Prime Focus, the Birmingham-based social investment agency, he is honoured for his services to housing in the Midlands.

Mr Clark, who was recently appointed chairman of the Housing Federation, said his OBE will give him 'renewed enthusiasm' to push for the Midlands agenda at the heart of Government.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 31, 2003
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