Five Suffolk heroes to receive prestigious medals on county's special day
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Five "truly exceptional" Suffolk people will be awarded with the county's highest honour for outstanding contributions in their various fields of work.
Boshor Ali, James Buckle, Maggi Hambling CBE, Dame Clare Marx, and Nigel Oakley will receive the Suffolk Medal as part of the Queen's Jubilee and Suffolk Day celebrations on Tuesday.
The investitures will take place at Framlingham Castle.
This year’s winners have made their contribution locally, nationally and internationally in a variety of ways, including outstanding contributions to the environment, medicine, philanthropy, the arts, business, agriculture and the community.
The prestigious Suffolk Medal was launched in March 2019, with nominations made by the general public and decided upon by a panel of county leaders, to champion the exceptional contributions of people in Suffolk.
Previous medal recipients are Sally Fogden MBE, Richard Martineau, Terry Hunt, Grenville Clarke MBE, Linda Hoggarth MBE, and Jeremy Mauger.
Clare Countess of Euston, Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk and chairwoman of the Suffolk Medal panel, said: "As part of Suffolk’s celebrations of HM Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and on our very own Suffolk Day, I am delighted that we will gather at Framlingham Castle to present five Suffolk Medals.
"Those receiving this very special award are truly exceptional Suffolk people that are unfailing in their talent and dedication to our wonderful county.
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"We thank them from the bottom of our hearts for the incredible breadth and depth of the contributions they have made."
Here's a detailed look at the five recipients:
Boshor Ali - secretary of the Shahjala Mosque and Islamic Centre and one of the founding members and subsequent chairman of BSC Multicultural Services (Ipswich).
Boshor’s tremendous tenacity and singlemindedness, coupled with his deep faith have led to a life-long passion to support the needs of those experiencing inequality as a result of poverty and exclusion.
Over some 25 years, his commitment to volunteering and inspired leadership of the BSC Multicultural Services team of staff, trustees and volunteers has delivered significant growth and breadth of the services it offers, but always with a mind to be responsive to wider and differing needs.
As a result, together with the team, Boshor has taken huge strides forward in building community cohesion and addressing the needs of many thousands of people in Suffolk regardless of their faith or ethnic origin.
James Buckle - businessman, farmer and philanthropist (Semer, near Hadleigh).
As chairman of Suffolk Community Foundation, James has ensured significant financial growth delivering support for many thousands of projects being delivered by Suffolk charities and community groups.
His deep seated sense of stewardship of the land has seen him plant more than 250,000 trees and over 35 km’s of hedgerows, but he has also created local employment, saved failing pubs to become thriving community assets and created many opportunities for people of all ages to engage with the environment.
His commitment to improving the prospects of young people in Suffolk now includes the development of Suffolk Youth Partnership, on this occasion drawing organisations to work effectively together in understanding the issues of young people and providing the support they need and the bright futures they deserve.
Maggi Hambling CBE - international artist, campaigner and philanthropist (Saxmundham).
Over the past five decades, Maggi's work has been celebrated across the globe, and her career highlights include being the first artist in residence at The National Gallery, solo exhibitions at many of the finest galleries and museums in the world, and sculpting Suffolk's very own Scallop, which was introduced to the shoreline in Aldeburgh in 2003.
Maggi continues to offer strong ongoing support for numerous Suffolk charities and local projects, including giving generously of her time as patron of Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury.
Her work continues to explore the challenging subjects of life/death, war, conflict, global warming. The emotional breadth and depth of her work speaks to people from every walk of life.
Dame Clare Marx - trauma and orthopaedic (T&O) surgeon and former medical leader at Ipswich hospital; the first woman to become President of The British Orthopaedic Association; The Royal College of Surgeons and chairman of the General Medical Council (Woodbridge).
Dame Clare has a deep love for Suffolk and its communities, having served for nearly three decades as a trauma and orthopaedic (T&O) surgeon and medical leader at Ipswich hospital; a person who inspires and mentors young people to join the medical profession; and someone who cares deeply about the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of everyone in Suffolk.
She combines a deep understanding of strategic, organisational and governance issues with a passion for raising the standard of medical leadership for the benefit of all patients across Suffolk and the UK.
Nigel Oakley - Ambassador and breeder for the Suffolk Punch horse (Rede Hall Farm Park, near Bury St Edmunds).
Nigel's life-long passion has been to fight for the very survival of this true icon of Suffolk and critically endangered breed of horse.
In 1983, success in the engineering business allowed Nigel and his family to purchase seven acres of land at Withersfield.
With only 240 Suffolk Punches remaining registered at this point, the breed was at its lowest post and Nigel made his first stand for The Suffolk Punch by introducing both a mare and filly to the smallholding. This was to become the foundation of his stud.
A move to Rede Hall Farm Park and its 60 acres allowed the stud to grow. A wider breeding programme followed with Nigel eventually increasing his own stock to 16 whilst producing a further 59 foals in partnership with other breeders across the country.
Over the past 40 years, Nigel has become and fabulous ambassador for the breed, appearing several times on BBC's Countryfile and encouraging everyone from local school children to Her Majesty The Queen to join and help.