Stan jazzes up the New Year honours

SEVEN New Year Honours have been awarded to local people including a celebrated jazz composer, a man who has played a key role in the conservation of cathedrals and a Rothamsted scientist. Pianist, composer and arranger Stan Tracey, aged 81, who lives in

SEVEN New Year Honours have been awarded to local people including a celebrated jazz composer, a man who has played a key role in the conservation of cathedrals and a Rothamsted scientist.

Pianist, composer and arranger Stan Tracey, aged 81, who lives in St Albans, has been made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to jazz.

He has been playing his own highly-acclaimed and individual style of modern jazz piano for over six decades and is also renowned as a composer and arranger.

He taught himself to play when he was only eight and was a professional musician by the age of 16.

Stan, who moved to St Albans from London Colney with his wife Jackie eight years ago, has received numerous accolades and awards including a lifetime's achievement in the BBC Radio Jazz Awards.

He was also the subject of a BBC Four documentary entitled The Godfather of British Jazz which has been shown many times on TV.

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Although he works in various configurations ranging from big band to trio, he particularly enjoys the musical freedom of working with The Stan Tracey Trio with his son Clark on percussion and bassist An­drew Cleyndert.

Stan is a patron of St Albans Arts -STARTS - for whom he takes an active role. Chairman Richard Brown said: "We are absolutely delighted that Stan has been honoured in this way.

"As Stan is a resident of St Albans and patron on STARTS, we would like to feel that his hugely-popular and musically-exceptional performances that STARTS has presented at the Maltings Arts Theatre over the last three years have meant that his place in modern jazz has been recognised locally as well as nationally."

n A love of historic buildings and old cathedrals has resulted in an OBE for Dr Donald Buttress, crowning a long career as an architect and surveyor.

Dr Buttress, aged 75, of Fishpool Street, St Albans, has been architect for five cathedrals and was Surveyor of the Fabric of Westminster Abbey for 12 years. Although he has now retired from the practice which bears his name, Buttress Fuller Alsop Williams in Manchester, he is still actively involved in the same kind of work.

He was selected from a shortlist of de­sign­ers to create the National Memorial to the Queen Mother in The Mall where work is due to begin in February and he only retired from his work at Chichester Cath­edral 18 months ago.

Dr Buttress, who is married to Elsa and has five children and 10 grandchildren, trained in Manchester and graduated in 1956. The couple moved to St Albans in the mid 1980s when he was working at Westminster Abbey and have become part of the community including a period when he was chairman of the Friends of St Michael's Church.

At Westminster Abbey he was responsible for the completion of its external restoration including the repair of the West Front and the Henry VII Chapel, as well as mem­orials including those of John Betjeman and the Old Contemptibles..

Of all the cathedrals he has worked on, he names Llandaff in Wales as his favour­ite. He said: "It is a wonderful building which was rebuilt after devastating bomb damage and reconstructed."

n Rothamsted Professor Brian Kerry, aged 59, who lives in Redbourn, has been awarded an MBE for his services to science.

Science director of the Centre for Soils and Ecosystem Function at the research station in Harpenden, Brian's research has been dedicated to nematodes - microscopic worms that live in the soil which can damage crop growth, particularly potato production in the UK.

Pesticides are normally used to control them but he has been working towards finding control methods to protect crops without the need for chemical intervention. His research team was the first to demonstrate that the pests can be controlled biologically by natural enemies that build up in soil and cereal monocultures in Europe.

Brian, who has just completed his PhD, has worked all over the world and has coordinated a major initiative in eastern and southern Africa where there is a need to increase research capacity.

n Services to higher education have gained an MBE for Arti Kumar, aged 61, of St Albans who is the associate director for the centre for excellence in teaching and learning at the University of Beds.

During her decade spent there, she has implemented new approaches to the career and personal development to students to help give them a clear direction after graduating.

It was her own personal experience and uncertainty about the future after completing university that spurred on her commitment to helping students. Her programme at the University of Beds was so successful that Reading University asked her to produce a web package which is now used at more than 60 institutions around the UK.

She won a National Teaching Fellowship in 2005 and was awarded £50,000-worth of funding to write a book for students to help with their career development which is due to be published this month.

Arti, who worked as a magazine journalist in India where she was born and as an air hostess, is married with three sons.

n A former music director at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Damian Cranmer, aged 63, has been awarded an MBE for his services to musical education. During his 19 years at the school he helped make it one of the most prestigious centres of music in the world.

Mr Cranmer, of Flamsteadbury Lane, Redbourn, led the Guildhall School's musical outreach work into disadvantaged communities and founded the children's Ready Steady Blow concerts for brass and wind at the Barbican Centre.

n JP Sandra Caldwell has been made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) for her work as director of field operations for the Health and Safety Executive.

Mrs Caldwell, who lives in Redbourn and sits on the St Albans bench, joined as a trainee inspector in 1976 and has worked in a variety of challenging roles both in operations and policy.

n Police chief inspector for the St Albans district, Sue Wheatley, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List.

It has been awarded for her work in setting up the multi-agency The Switch Project targeting chaotic drug users and moving them away from addiction and crime.

Married with four children, she joined South Yorkshire Police in 1978 before transferring to Herts in 1984 where she has spent most of her time as a detective.