A gymnastic world champion, an Olympic sailor, a real tennis champion and a council leader are among the people honoured in Essex.

Max Whitlock from Pitsea near Basildon has topped off a year that saw him win Britain's first Olympic gymnastics gold medal, and get engaged, with an MBE.

The 23-year-old made history when he won gold in Rio on the floor, doubling his tally less than two hours later with victory on the pommel horse.

He has now been recognised in the New Year Honours list for services to gymnastics.

"The letter came through the post, and it is a weird feeling because obviously it is very confidential so you can't tell many people.



  • Stephen Dodgson Lately Head of Business Group, UK Export Finance, Department for International Trade. For services to the British Export Economy. (Brentwood, Essex)

  • Laura Kenny OBE For services to Cycling. Laura Trott (Cheshire) Born in Harlow


  • James Gosling Solicitor and Partner, Holman Fenwick Willan LLP. For services to the Legal Profession and Maritime Hostages. (Saffron Walden, Essex)

  • Shirley Kennerson Head of South Essex Local Delivery Unit, Ministry of Justice. For services to Probation and Criminal Justice. (London)

  • Neil Stock Leader, Tendring District Council. For services to Local Government. (Manningtree, Essex)

  • Professor Deborah Sturdy Nurse Adviser, Care England. For services to Older People, Dementia Care and Nursing. (Essex)

Olympic sailor Saskia Clarke has been awarded an MBE. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire


  • Debra Ballard Executive Officer, DWP Operations, Department for Work and Pensions. For services to Homeless People in Southend-on-Sea. (Essex)

  • Saskia Clark For services to Sailing. (Poole, Dorset) Born in Colchester, Essex

  • Kerry Clancy-Horner Area Manager, Children's Services, The Children's Society. For services to Children and Young People. (Chelmsford, Essex)

  • Joe Clarke For services to Canoeing. (Waltham Abbey, Essex)

  • Peter Davies Chair of Governors, Kingsdown School, Southend on Sea, Essex and Chair of the Interim Executive Board, Leigh North Street Juniors. For services to Education. (Westcliff on Sea, Essex)

  • Martin Devenish Alumni Support, University Council, University of Birmingham. For services to Higher Education and voluntary service to Educational Development Overseas. (Ingatestone, Essex)

  • Samuel Duerden Deputy Director, International Rescue Committee. For services in Response to Humanitarian Crises. (Colchester, Essex)

  • Robert Fahey Lately Real Tennis World Champion. For services to Sport. (Feering, Essex)

  • Donna Finch Community Development and Safeguarding Manager, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. For services to Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults in the community. (Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex)

Donna Finch has been given an MBE for services to children, young people and vulnerable adults. Credit: Essex Fire and Rescue Service
  • John Gillan Grade 6, Border Force, Home Office. For services to Border Security. (Colchester, Essex)

  • Gordon Haines JP Member, Court of Aldermen, City of London Corporation. For voluntary and charitable services to the community and Environmental Conservation in London. (Brentwood, Essex)

  • Anne Jolly Founder and Manager, Sudden Adult Death Trust UK. For services to Raising Awareness of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome. (Brentwood, Essex)

  • Lauren Kilbey Senior Executive Officer, DWP Operations, Department for Work and Pensions. For services to Disadvantaged and Vulnerable People in Essex. (Colchester, Essex)

  • Samantha Laskey Head of Strategy, Performance and Planning, Mrs Samantha Pryce National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters. For services to Policing. (Brentwood, Essex)

  • Katherine Liddell Team Organiser, Maintenance Delivery Unit, Network Rail. For services to Transport in the East of England. (Rayleigh, Essex)

  • Max Whitlock For services to Gymnastics. (Pitsea, Essex)

Joe Clarke celebrates gold in the Kayak men's final in Rio and has been awarded an MBE. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire


  • Maureen Nunn Midday Assistant, Cleaner and School Volunteer, Lubbins Park Primary School, Essex. For services to Education. (Canvey Island, Essex)

  • Katrina Whittaker For services to People Affected by Mental Health Difficulties. (Braintree, Essex)

  • Corinne Winwood Youth and Mini Section Chairman, Braintree Rugby Club. For services to Youth Rugby in Essex. (Witham, Essex)

"In 2008, Katrina Whittaker (66) identified a need for a community group to provide support and assistance. Mental health illness had no profile locally, so she established Braintree Rethink Art Group. "The Group provides mutual support for carers and other family members affected by severe mental illness. This role involves organising monthly meetings and a range of social events for the group. "Around 5 years ago, she setup a new group, the Braintree Rethink Art Group, talking on the organisation of the Group, securing funding and premises for its activities as well as the support of an art tutor. In 2011 the Group was recognised as the Rethink Mental Illness Group of the Year. "

CITATION FOR Katrina Whittaker BEM