New Year’s Honours: MBE for 20 years of volunteering

Glennis Bentley, who has been awarded an MBE. Picture: David Lowndes/Peterborough ET
Glennis Bentley, who has been awarded an MBE. Picture: David Lowndes/Peterborough ET
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A DEDICATED city woman who has spent more than 20 years helping disadvantaged youngsters has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours.

Kind-hearted volunteer Glennis Bentley (59), of Pendleton, Ravensthorpe, said she was “shocked and amazed” to find out she had been given the prestigious gong for “voluntary service to young people in Peterborough”.

The community champion’s nomination follows years of giving up her own time in Westwood and Ravensthorpe, where she has set up and run youth clubs and fought to get better facilities for the areas.

But the hardest part about getting the award for Glennis, who was born in Skegness but moved to Ravensthorpe 26 years ago with her family - husband Andrew and two sons, Edward (33) and Craig (30) - has been keeping it secret from everyone for the last few months.

Glennis, who is a civil servant and is currently an office manager for the UK Border Agency in Peterborough, said: “The envelope landed on the mat and I saw it was from the Cabinet Office so thought it was maybe something to do with work.

“But when I opened and saw I had got the MBE I was just amazed, I still can’t believe it now.

“You have to keep it top secret, but I told my husband who is quite stoic and just said ‘well done’. I finally told my two sons on Monday about it but swore them to secrecy and also a dear friend of mine who has since passed away.

“I am not usually slow in coming forward so I can’t wait until midnight to email all my family and friends with the news.”

Glennis, who does not know who nominated her for the award, realised the area of Westwood and Ravensthorpe needed a youth club more than 20 years ago and set one up with another mum, Janet Hill.

The Phoenix Youth Project ran for 20 years providing activities and resources for youngsters in the area.

Thanks to Glennis’ hardwork and inspiration they also managed to get a floodlit area created in the green by Hampton Court for the children and even persuaded the city council to resurface the area recently when it wore out with constant use.

All the while she championed residents’ causes, she juggled having a full-time job and being a mother.

The trip to the palace to pick up her gong will not be the first time that Glennis has set foot in the grounds, as she attended a Royal garden party a few years ago.

She said: “I could only see the Queen’s hat bobbing up and down in the crowd so hopefully this time I will be able to say I have had a brush with royalty.”

New Year awards for stars of entertainment

A HOST of stars from the world of pop, television and sport are among those awarded honours.

Pop star Annie Lennox (56), the former Eurythmics singer, receives an OBE in the New Year Honours List for her work fighting Aids and poverty in Africa.

Poirot actor David Suchet (64) receives a CBE for services to drama during an acclaimed acting career spanning more than 40 years and is best known as Agatha Christie’s debonair Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in the long-running ITV series.

An MBE goes to football referee Howard Webb (39) for services to football after he became the first Englishman to referee a World Cup final since 1974.

There is an OBE for rugby star Mike Catt (39) who retired from playing in May having won 75 England caps, including the 2003 and 2007 World Cup finals, and toured with the British and Irish Lions.

Lady Antonia Fraser (78), the best-selling author of biographies of Marie Antoinette and Mary Queen of Scots, is made a dame for services to literature.

There are knighthoods for Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways, Roger Carr, chairman of energy giant Centrica, and Richard Lambert, the outgoing director-general of the CBI.