L-R: Margaret Beacham BEM and Robert Jones BEM


Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2022 has been revealed, with 3 Islanders recognised for their incredible public service as the country celebrates Her Majesty’s unprecedented 70 years of service.

In tribute to The Queen, recipients have been awarded for their outstanding contributions across all sectors, but in particular for sustained public service, the environment and sustainability, and youth engagement.

Among the 1,134 recipients of honours this June is Jamie Brenchley, the Isle of Wight Council’s Housing Needs Manager. He has been awarded an MBE for his services to homeless people, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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64-year-old Robert Jones from Rookley has been awarded a BEM for services to public libraries. Robert is the Isle of Wight Council’s Library Service Manager.

Robert is an active member of the Libraries Connected regional network and was previously involved in the Association of Senior Children’s and Education Librarians. He represented public libraries nationally on the Prison Library Service Partnership Board.

Early in his career, he recognised the importance of computers in a modern library. While working as a school librarian, he pioneered the use of computers in school libraries, trained staff across the Isle of Wight, co-authored a text on school libraries and ICT, and helped his school become 1 of 6 in England chosen for the Libraries of the Future project.

In 2017 he worked with the Society of Chief Librarians and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to pilot public library provision of assisted digital support for people completing the 2021 census online. This pilot saw the Isle of Wight become the first public library service in England to be commissioned through the Digital Training and Support Framework. He helped the ONS plan for the wider rollout of online census returns and provided invaluable learning to Libraries Connected, helping them to secure additional work and a significant amount of funding for public libraries.

Despite a significant budget, he has ensured that the last decade has been one of service development, engagement and creativity for libraries on the Island. He has led on 2 major service reviews; consulting with the public and working in partnership with community groups and local councils, and redeveloped how library services were delivered on the Isle of Wight, saving the council £60million over 6 years and ensuring that all 11 libraries remained open.

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58-year-old Margaret Beacham from Ryde has also been awarded a BEM for her voluntary service to young people on the Island as the Chair of Sea Cadets in Ryde.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Margaret balanced her busy day-time role as a Legal Secretary with volunteering as Chair of Ryde Sea Cadet Unit, ensuring the safe delivery of life-changing activities for many young people.

A qualified canoeing instructor, Margaret has consistently shown great professional skill, management and leadership to encourage cadets to plan and participate in canoeing activities from day events to week-long camps including canoeing expeditions covering significant distances. She started volunteering in 2006, and quickly became Vice Chair and then Chair.

Margaret has coordinated fundraising events to develop funding to rejuvenate the unit premises and has also coordinated and motivated additional local volunteers to complete the redecoration of the unit. Margaret also negotiated and delivered a Sea Cadet boating facility at the Island Harbour Marina.

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Speaking to Island Echo about her honour, Margaret has said:

“The role of Unit Chairperson and that of an Officer in Charge or Commanding Officer is a challenging but hugely rewarding role. Ryde Unit is a friendly environment to volunteer in and I am deeply honoured to be receiving this award in recognition of several years of personal investment.

“Our young people give me the inspiration to continue to volunteer and to ensure their time as a Sea Cadet is safe and enjoyable. My respect goes to the Adult Volunteers and Instructors who give so freely of their time and for members in our local community who support the unit and believe in our mission”.

Neil-odin-right-1-e1624891086290Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, Neil Odin, has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal (Q.F.S.M) for distinguished service.

Neil’s fire service career began in 1991 and he has since served in 3 services, becoming Assistant Chief Officer (Community Safety) at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2012. In 2014, as Deputy Chief and Director of Service Delivery, Neil looked after community safety, response and resilience and was responsible for frontline response, prevention, safe & well visits and community self-help plans. Neil became Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service in January 2018.

Alongside his role as CFO, Neil is also the UK National Fire Chief’s Council Chairman for the Prevention Committee, supporting fire services across the nation to prevent fires and other emergencies. He is Chairman of the United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO) which brings together the UK’s rescue services to develop their skills and improve rescue standards and is also a trustee of the Blue Lamp Trust which was established to promote and enhance community safety across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Most recently, Neil has chaired the Strategic Coordinating Group (SCG) in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight ensuring the effective multi-agency response to COVID-19.

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