Honours accolades for St Albans’ leading achievers

RETIREMENT has brought plenty of changes for St Albans scientist Professor Iain Robinson – not least the award of an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Professor Robinson, 60, who has lived in the city with this wife Claire since 1988, received the accolade for services to science.

He retired from the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) where he was a former head of the neurosciences group and head of the division of molecular neuroendocrinology last September. His principal scientific contribution was in the field of endocrine factors and the control of growth.

He worked for the NIMR for 32 years and during that time published more than 200 research papers. Just months before his retirement he was awarded the Geoffrey Harris Prize and the Solomon Berson Distinguished Lectureship.

Retirement has given Professor Robinson, a father of two, a chance to turn again to an old love – music. He was a singer many years ago and now belongs to the Bach Choir, Carillon and Mosaic in St Albans.

Announcement of his MBE has left him “surprised and pleased” and Jim Smith, director of NIMR, also paid tribute saying that during his time there, Professor Robinson had contributed to every aspect of the Institute’s life, including the scientific, the social and the strategic.

Responsibility is also the name of the game for Freda Chaloner, who lives in St Albans and has been awarded a CBE for her work as director of the large business service at HM Revenue and Customs.

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In her role she oversees the tax affairs of the largest 800 or so businesses in the UK.

The mother of two adult sons, she has had a long career in the Civil Service most of which has been spent in a variety of roles in the field of tax.

She also spent five years in the Home Office where she led work to design and implement a co-ordinted approach to the management and resolution of asylum seeker’s claims.

Maggie Turner, chief executive of the Diana Award, who also lives in St Albans, has been awarded an OBE for services to young people.

She has worked in a variety of roles supporting young people since 1992 and spent three years as a social worker followed by 11 years at Childline before joining the Diana Award – set up as a lasting memorial to Princess Diana’s belief in the power of young people to change the world – in 2003.

She said this week: “I am overwhelmed and humbled. I accept this award on behalf of and in recognition of the amazing and selfless contribution our 30,000 Diana Award holders make to the communities in which they live. They inspire me every day and this award is for us all – and will help us build on our shared successes.”

Aaron Ross, chair of trustees for the Diana Award, said: “We are thrilled that Maggie has been recognised for the very same qualities that our award holders display – selflessness, commitment and courage.”

An OBE has also been awarded to Vivien Bailey, another St Albans resident, who was latterly working as an inspector with the inspection service Ofsted.