Jubilee Honours: Norfolk 'Queen of Knitting' Margaret Seaman leads line-up with British Empire Medal

  • Watch Rob Setchell's round-up of the honours recipients across the region

A great-great-grandmother known as Norfolk's Queen of Knitting has received royal recognition of her achievements in the Queen's Jubilee Honours list.

Margaret Seaman, 93, has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity with her woollen wonders, including a model of Sandringham House and the meticulously-detailed NHS Knittingale during the pandemic.

She has been awarded the British Empire Medal in honour of her fundraising - and said, after first bursting into tears, she celebrated in the only way she knew how.

"Knitting is very good therapy - so we sat down and got on with what we were doing," said Mrs Seaman, of Caister near Great Yarmouth.

Sandringham House, as knitted by Margaret Seaman. Credit: PA

Mrs Seaman has won widespread acclaim for her knitted creations, and was named Pride of Britain fundraiser of the year in the East last year - even getting a request from awards judge Ashley Banjo that she knit him a jumper.

But she said her latest accolade would not change her, insisting: "I'm still Margaret."

"I can also get a coat of arms because of the presentation. You can have them designed - I could have one with knitting on," she said.

Mrs Seaman is among dozens of people across the East of England recognised for their community, fundraising and public service efforts - some during the pandemic, others over many decades.

Among them was Patrick Peal, the former CEO of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, who has been made an MBE for services to emergency care.

Patrick Peal, Former CEO of the East Anglian Air Ambulance Credit: PA

Secretary Faith Rutterford has also been honoured for her 63 years of service to the US Air Force at RAF Mildenhall.

Sandra Colston, founder of the Funky Voices Choir, which has been bringing people in Suffolk and Essex together for 15 years, has been made an MBE.

She said: "I still love it. They love it. To have such an icing on the cake - it's icing and a cherry and everything else - to have that kind of recognition, an MBE... I'm overwhelmed," she said.

Natalie Bissessur was also taken aback by her British Empire Medal for services to adult social care in Essex.

When Covid-19 hit, she took her husband Shane and their dogs, and moved into the care home for 11 months.

"I feel proud that we did it," she said. "And to this day none of our service users have had Covid so we're really happy with the decision that we made and glad that we could keep everyone safe."

A full list of those to receive honours in the Anglia region is available to view below:

Who received Queen's Jubilee Honours in the East of England?

Bedfordshire honours

Sanjeevini Dutta, 68, Finchley, London

Director, Kadam Dance in Luton, Bedfordshire. MBE for services to dance.

Donna Neely-Hayes, 37, Renhold

Headteacher, Denbigh High School, Luton. MBE for services to education.

William Cooke, 57, Leighton Buzzard

Head of workforce health, safety and environment, Network Rail. BEM for services to the railway and to charity.

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Cambridgeshire honours

Sandie Burns, 62, Peterborough - Chief executive, Disability Peterborough. MBE for services to people with disabilities in Peterborough.

Edward Walker, 45, Peterborough - Founder and chief executive, Hope into Action. MBE for services to tackling homelessness.

Michael Sly, 53, Thorney - Chairman, English Mustard Growers. MBE for services to agriculture in East Anglia.

Anne Trotter, 62, Newton - Assistant director of education and standards, The Nursing and Midwifery Council. BEM for services to public health.

Paul Ray, 75, Meldreth - BEM for services to the community in Cambridgeshire.

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Essex honours

Robert Lodge, 70, Weeley Heath, Essex - Vice chair and trustee, Red Cypher Charity. MBE for services to veterans and their families.

Mark Caldon, 61, Chelmsford - Secretary, UK Spoliation Advisory Panel. MBE for services to cultural restoration.

Sandra Colston, 46, Colchester - Musical director, Funky Voices. For services to music, charity and to the community in East Anglia, particularly during Covid-19.

Pranav Bhanot, 33, Chigwell - Councillor, Chigwell Parish Council. MBE for services to the community in Chigwell, Essex.

Melissa Dark, 34, Manningtree - Casualty bureau manager and disaster victim identification coordinator, City of London Police. MBE for services to policing.      

Cherry McKean, 45, Halstead - MBE for services to the community in Halstead, Essex during Covid-19.

George Johnson, 34, Colchester - BEM for services to the community in Colchester, Essex, particularly during Covid-19.

Derek Whitbread, 66, Epping - On-call watch manager, Essex Fire and Rescue Service. BEM for services to the community in Epping, Essex.

Anne Roberts, 77, Uttlesford - Parish councillor and volunteer, Little Chesterford. BEM for charitable services to the community in Uttlesford, Essex.

Timothy Neobard, 39, Rochford, Essex - BEM for services to the community in Rochford, Essex, during Covid-19.

Brenda Ellis, 74, Clacton-on-Sea - Chair, Community Voluntary Services Tendring. BEM for services to the community in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

Sonia Grantham, 79, St Osyth, Essex - BEM for services to the community in St Osyth, Essex.

Sudath Leon Dias, 50, Colchester - Special superintendent, Essex Police. BEM for services to policing.

Janet Elizabeth Menell, 85, Saffron Walden - Councillor, Littlebury Parish Council, Essex. BEM for services to the community in Uttlesford, Essex.

Roger James Pickett, 69, Aveley - Founder and curator, Essex Fire Museum. BEM for services to the community in Essex.

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Hertfordshire honours

Emma Cox, 41, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire - Social worker, Bedfordshire Council. MBE for services to child and family social work and voluntary work overseas.

Dr Indranil Chakravorty, 55, St Albans - Chair, British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin Institute for Health Research and consultant physician, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. MBE for services to the healthcare sector.

Yvonne Davis, 65, Hemel Hempstead - Headteacher, Oak View Primary and Nursery School, Hatfield, Hertfordshire. MBE for services to education.

Vanessa Rousseau, 46, Chorleywood - BEM for services to the community in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire during Covid-19.

Darren McLatchey, 47, Stevenage - Former station commander, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service. BEM for services to the community in Hertfordshire during Covid-19.

Angela Khalil, 76, Bishop’s Stortford - Patron and former president, British Red Cross, Essex. BEM for voluntary service.

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Norfolk honours

Patrick Peal, 68, Norwich - Chief executive, East Anglian Air Ambulance. MBE for services to emergency care in the East of England.

Natalie Bissessur, 32, Wretham - Registered manager, Sunnyside House. BEM for services to adult social care during Covid-19.

Margaret Seaman, 93, Caistor - BEM for charitable service in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, particularly during Covid-19.

Sarah-Jane Douglass, 52, Norwich - BEM for services to the community in Norwich, Norfolk during Covid-19.

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Suffolk honours

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney, 42, Newmarket - Clinical adviser, The College of Optometrists. MBE for services to optometry.

Faith Rutterford, 80, Barton Mills - Secretary to the Commander, 100th Civil Engineer Squadron, US Air Force, RAF Mildenhall. MBE for public service.

Anthony Lambert Tyrrell Brown, 67, Beccles - Chair, Suffolk Libraries. BEM for services to public libraries.

Joanne Ogden-King, 51, Leiston - Yoga teacher. BEM for services to the community in Suffolk.

Patrick Church, 75, Bury St Edmunds - Former manager, Abbeygate Cinema, Bury St Edmunds. BEM for services to the community in Suffolk.

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