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New Year Honours: Fundraising widow says she is not worthy to be awarded MBE.

A pensioner who has spent nearly half a century helping others described herself as being 'not worthy' to be made an MBE.

Doris Poole has been fund-raising and donating her time to various charities since she joined the WRVS in Sutton Coldfield in 1957.

The 81-year-old widow, who now lives in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, retired from the charity after 30 years service but soon found herself needing to make a difference in her new neighbourhood.

She said: 'My husband and I planned to retire at 65 but nearly three years after we moved to Droitwich he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

'That's when I started fund-raising for Macmillan Nurses and our local Cancer Support Group by holding bring-and-buy sales and raffles at our new home.

'I cried when I heard I'd been made an MBE but I really don't deserve this, I'm not worthy of this award, but I'm very honoured and grateful.

'I've been told this is not the first time I've been put forward for an honour but last time the person who nominated me posted the form off six weeks late.'

The farm foreman at a Shropshire college has been honoured with an MBE for his services to agricultural education.

John Ruscoe, aged 63, has been tending 500 acres of crops at Harper Adams University College near Newport for the past 48 years.

Donald Courten has been made an MBE for his services to education and the community of Wolverhampton.

The 75-year-old former magistrate from Sedgley has been honoured for his work at the old Wolverhampton Polytechnic and for his role in the introduction of HND courses.

For 25 years Mr Courten was head of building and civil engineering at Wolverhampton Polytechnic and sat on the board of the Chartered Institute of Building.

Outside his work at the polytechnic, Mr Courten helped set up HND courses in both building and civil engineering as well as being a co-opted member of the city's education committee.

A member of the bench at Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court for 28 years, he is also chairman of governors at St Edmund's Catholic School, Wolverhampton.

Mike Tym, a senior special constable,who receives the MBE, is responsible for volunteer police officers in part of the Black Country.

Mr Tym, aged 57, has fitted in his duties as district officer for the specials at Bloxwich police station with his day job as an English teacher for the past 17 years.

Syeda Khatun, a Black Country Bangladeshi councillor who has campaigned on Muslim women's issues, is honoured with the MBE for services to the community. The Labour councillor for Tipton Green at Sandwell Council, Coun Khatun become only the second Bangladeshi councillor in the country in 1999.

Lee Rogerson, youth and community project manager for Coventry's YMCA, has been made an MBE for his services to young people.

The 34-year-old is the leader of a team working with young people in crime and anti-social behaviour hotspots in the city.

Since the work began three years ago there has been a 48 per cent drop in re-offending rates from young people in the areas they have targeted.

Tom Heller was instrumental in the establishment of Horticultural Research International, the world's largest horticultural research centre based in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, and also put together plans for its merger with the University of Warwick.

The 62-year-old said the research centre had been an integral part in helping British agriculture and horticulture and its future had now been secured with its transfer from the public to the private sector.

Mr Heller, who lives in Stratfordupon-Avon, said being made an MBE for services to agricultural and horticultural research was 'a bit of a surprise'.

Former television presenter Elizabeth Steel set up Hairline International, The Alopecia Patients' Society after losing 90 per cent of her own hair. Ms Steel, aged 51, from Knowle, Solihull, has been made an MBE for services to healthcare, after helping about 80,000 patients to cope with hair loss.

She lost her own hair when she was 30-years-old as a young mother and TV presenter on the former Midlands channel ATV, due to alopecia areata, which affects thousands of people each year. Shocked at the lack of information available, she set up Hairline International, in Knowle.

Bryan Baker, aged 66, is honoured for his services to the Independent Monitoring Board at Stafford Prison and the Independent Monitoring Board National Advisory Council.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 31, 2003
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