New Year's Honours 2015: 5 Intriguing Stories You Won't Have Heard

30/12/2015 22:21 | Updated 31 December 2015

Barbara Windsor, Idris Elba, Chris Froome - there are plenty of big names on this year’s New Year’s Honours List.

But it’s not just well-known people named in the annual announcement, many ordinary people are also honoured in the list.

There are some incredible stories behind a number of this year’s nominees.

We take a look at some of the more unusual tales behind those named…

  • 1 Sarah Bronwen Jones, British Empire Medal For Services To Young People
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    Jones is the founder and director of Children of Fire. The charity helps young survivors of burn injuries (including fire, chemical and electrical burns) in Africa. It works with a network of doctors, surgeons and health care specialists, most of whom volunteer their services. Since it was set up more than a decade ago, Children of Fire has helped over 250 children suffering burns, many of which have been extremely serious cases. Her heart was particularly captured by a young called Dorah Mokoena. Mokoena suffered serious burns as a child in Johannesburg, South Africa, which left her without a nose, eyelids, lips, and bones in her forehead and hands. She has since undergone extensive surgery and has become a permanent part of Jones’ own family. Jones has also worked to try to persuade authorities to ban a particularly unsafe brand of cooking stove used in South Africa.
  • 2 Angela Francey, British Empire Medal For Services To The Reconciliation Of The Community Of Jersey And Of Bad Wurzach
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    Francey helped to oversee the twinning of the Jersey town of St Helier with Bad Wurzach in Germany. During the Nazi occupation of Jersey, officials from the Third Reich demanded that many of the island’s British-born residents be rounded up and deported to Bad Wurzach. In total around 2,000 people were deported from Jersey and Guernsey. After the war, links were gradually established between the two towns but an attempt to twin them was abandoned in the 1970s. But the “Partnerschaft” set up between the towns, headed up by Francey, finally achieved their aim in 1982 and links have remained strong ever since. St Helier Deputy Rod Bryans said of the twinning: “St Helier's twinning with Bad Wurzach was a simple act of reconciliation that has had a profound effect on both towns. Anyone that now finds themselves in the town will be royally treated.”
  • 3 Bridget Galsworthy Estavillo, British Empire Medal For Services To The Heritage Of The Cornish Community In Mexico
    Anthony Devlin/PA Archive
    Galsworthy Estavillo has done extensive work in preserving Cornish heritage in Mexico. The writer and historian, whose mother was Cornish, lives in Mexico but visits Cornwall frequently. She has been involved in the restoration of a Cornish cemetery in the town of Real Del Monte in Mexico’s Hidalgo state. There was a strong Cornish representation in Mexico, where miners and their families travelled to silver mining towns in Hidalgo. To this day, locals in the region are proud of their local speciality of “pastes” - a variation of the traditional Cornish pasty. Cornish people also helped to important sports that were popular in Britain, including rugby union, tennis and cricket.
  • 4 Jean McLaughlin, British Empire Medal For Services To The Recognition Of Evacuees During The Occupation.
    McLaughlin is the founder and chair of the Jersey Evacuees Association. Thousand of children from the island were evacuated to Britain to evade the Nazi occupation, which was for many the first time they had ever left their homes. Some adults were also evacuated. In total, some 6,500 people were evacuated from the island over the course of seven days. In 2009, McLaughlin set up the association to gather together those who were evacuated and preserve their stories for future generations. As part of their work, the association has overseen the compilation of a book and the erection of plaques to commemorate the evacuation.
  • 5 Marian Jane Staple, British Empire Medal For Services To Charity
    Marian Jane Stapley is a volunteer with The Chernobyl Children's Lifeline. It's been nearly 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster but the effects are still keenly felt. As well as a 19 mile exclusion zone that will be uninhabitable for 20,000 years, radioactive fallout covered great swathes of the Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus. The people living in these areas see increased rates of thyroid cancer, bone cancer and leukaemia from eating contaminated food in the area. One of the services the charity provides is to bring children from affected areas on 4-week recuperation trips to the UK. Just one month away from the radiation can boost a child's immune system for two years helping them to resist or recover from illnesses as well as reducing the amount radioactive caesium in their bodies.

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