Three co-operators have been named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to their sectors and communities.
Jim McCrum, manager and secretary for more than 30 years at the Rathfriland Farmer’s Co-op Society, has been awarded an MBE – Member of the British Empire award – for services to his co-op and the farming community in South Down.
“This is a very well-deserved accolade for a man who has dedicated his life to nurturing Rathfriland Co-op from its inauguration some 30-odd years ago until now. Well done Jim from all the staff and shareholders,” said the co-op in a social media post.
Energy4All’s Annette Heslop also received an MBE, for her services to the community energy sector. Ms Heslop has been involved in the community energy movement for over 20 years and played an important role in the creation of the 23 renewable energy co-ops that are part of Energy4All. She has been a finance director of Energy4All since 2004. The organisation now has a large family of co-ops incorporating wind, solar, hydro and biomass technologies.
She said: “I was thrilled to receive the MBE. When the envelope arrived through my door I didn’t quite believe it, what a lovely but totally unexpected surprise. I would like to thank the person or persons who nominated me.
“During my time working in the community energy sector we have faced many hurdles, but with the involvement of local communities and the wider renewable energy community we have been able to create ground breaking projects, including the creation of Rumbling Bridge Community Hydro Co-operative the (largest community-owned hydro project), and the repowering of the original Baywind wind farm.”
More recently Energy4All has been working on the acquisition of Mean Moor Wind Farm, a commercially owned wind farm that has been purchased outright by a community.
“Energy4All gives the power back to the people, allowing them to own a stake in locally generated renewable energy. This, I believe is the way forward for our energy market,” added Ms Heslop.
“As a director of Energy4All it is a privilege to work alongside these groups and help them to develop and educate the next generation about the importance of renewable energy and climate change.
“I would like to thank my fellow directors and staff past and present at Energy4All for all their hard work and dedication. We have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline and are continually working hard to increase the community energy sector in the UK despite the many barriers that we have to overcome.”
Co-op Group member nominated director, Margaret Casely-Hayford, received a CBE – Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – for charitable services in the UK and abroad. In addition to being on the Co-op Group’s board, she is chancellor at Coventry University and chair of ActionAid UK, Carnegie and Kate Greenaway children’s book awards diversity review, and the Globe Theatre. She was the director of Legal Services for the John Lewis Partnership for nine years.
Ms Casely-Hayford sent congratulations to others named in the honours list and thanked the organisations she represented. “Thank you to you and all those with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. It’s an award for all of us,” she wrote on Twitter.
Allan Leighton, independent non-executive chair of the Co-op Group, said: “We’re delighted that Margaret has been recognised for her services to charity both here in the UK and overseas, along with her work to create diversity on boards. We’re particularly proud to have Margaret as a member nominated director serving on our board. The commercial insight she brings combined with her passion for diversity makes her a valuable asset in our boardroom and an inspiration to work with.”