St Albans people receive awards in New Year’s Honours 2019

Ian Martin Pittaway received a British Empire Medal in the Queen's New Year's Honours 2019.

Ian Martin Pittaway received a British Empire Medal in the Queen's New Year's Honours 2019. - Credit: Archant

More extraordinary people from St Albans have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours 2019.

Nearly 1,150 people received an award from Her Majesty this year, including St Albans man Ian Martin Pittaway, who is the chairman of The Robert Clack Development Trust.

This is a charity set up by the alumni of Robert Clack School, where Ian attended until 1974.

Through fundraising and mentoring schemes, the 1,500 strong organisation support and inspire pupils currently attending Robert Clack.

Ian went on to study law at Hull University and is now a senior partner at Sackers, a law firm in the City of London.

He received a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

The 62-year-old said: “Our motto is that you never really leave Robert Clack - you may physically leave but you have a duty to give back to the next generation.

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“Many of us went on to have successful careers, like medics, lawyers, or journalists, and we want to give them [current pupils] a leg up too.”

For example, the charity will pay for university open day travel expenses, if required.

He added that the award is not just for him, but a recognition of everyone’s hard work.

St Albans commander Michael Goldthorpe also received a BEM, for services to naval personnel. He is the chief executive of the Association of Royal Navy Officers - the membership organisation for all Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service officers.

He was born and schooled in Yorkshire, joining the Royal Navy as a writer in 1978. During his career he served on a number of ships and onshore in Muscat, Yeovil, Gibraltar and at the Ministry of Defence in London.

Michael retired in 2010 to the rank of commander.

He said: “I feel privileged. I found out about two months ago but you can’t tell anybody so you have this secret which is a bit bizarre.

“It is good for the charity and the organisation I work for because it is recognition for both their hard work.”

A St Albans cave diver, Vernon Unsworth, has also been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services oversees.

He helped to save 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded Thai cave in July by mapping out the complex Tham Luang tunnels.