Four Islanders have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their services to the community and to charity, including 17-year-old Natasha Lambert who has become one of the youngest ever recipients of the British Empire Medal.
Sean Harrison, 43, from Gurnard has been made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to the community in his role as a Regional and Service coordinator of the Firefighters Charity, in which he has played an important role for nearly 25 years.
Keen to support colleagues and the wider fire community, Sean was a station rep at Clevedon in Bristol throughout the 1990s, organising events and helping colleagues to access the support they needed. Sean transferred to the Isle of Wight as a retained firefighter at Cowes in 2004 before becoming a wholetime firefighter in 2010 on Blue Watch at Newport Fire Station. Shortly after, Sean became a Service Coordinator, encouraging stations across the Island to take part in fundraising.
With his leadership and tireless effort, Sean has now fully re-engaged the service with the Charity. In 2012 he became Regional Coordinator and has driven the Southern region forward. In addition, he has supported existing members to become more engaged with the Charity and has also encouraged and developed new Service Coordinators.
As well as being a wholetime firefighter with the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, Sean is a dedicated Chair of the Gurnard Parish Council which he has revitalised, providing great leadership and direction. He has also volunteered as a school governor and is currently a governor at Cowes Enterprise College.
Sean currently works in community safety based out of Sandown Fire Station.
Despite being born with athetoid cerebral palsy, resulting in her having no control over her limbs, Natasha has gone on not only to demonstrate a remarkable determination to lead as normal a life as possible, but also to help others through her charitable fundraising.
Aged 11 she became a Guide and went on to achieve the highest award in Guiding, the Baden Powell Award, fulfilling a series of challenges and activities, including running a disability awareness evening for her local Guide group. In 2010 Natasha completed a sponsored walk up Tennyson Down in Freshwater, raising £2,700 for a disabled girl on the Island. Also in 2010 she also took up sailing at UKSA in Cowes and spent two years sailing with her local RYA Sailability Club.
Amazingly, in 2012, Natasha sailed around the Isle of Wight raising a staggering £17,000 for the RNLI, The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and Scope. In 2013 she sailed across the English Channel and raised £7,000 for various charities and in 2014 became the YJA Apollo Young Sailor of the Year. Natasha also went on to receive the Outstanding Personal Achievement of the Year Award at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sports Awards.
The past few weeks have been incredible for Natasha – she has completed her latest ‘Capital Venture’ challenge and has launched her own charity to let other young people learn to sail using her sip and puff method. In addition, Natasha has been invited to start the prestigious JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race and has been included in the Independent on Sunday 2015 Happy List.
Commenting on being awarded the BEM, Natasha said:
“I can’t believe I’ve been chosen for this amazing honour. I just enjoy doing what I do. It’s great people get behind it, but really anyone could do it”.
Other Islanders featured in the Birthday Honours list include Lady Pigot (Sarah Anne) from Bembridge, who receives an OBE for her services to the community and Deborah Blake from Newport, who receives a BEM for her services to the HM Prison Service.