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Seamstress, author, teacher, councillor and charity worker gets MBE

Alison Smith MBE recognised for services to sewing. Credit: ITV News Central

For nearly 40 years, Alison Smith from Ashby has made sewing her life and now she's been made an MBE.

Alison was nominated for the award from the Queen by her friends and students for her success and her determination to get more people to learn how to sew along with a few other interests that she manages to squeeze in around running her own sewing school.

Alison's book The Sewing Book sold over 173,000 copies worldwide but not only is she a seamstress, teacher and author; she also finds time to be a local councillor on North West Leicestershire District Council and Ashby Town Council.

Alison will collect her MBE from Buckingham Palace later this year.

Five facts about Hilary Devey CBE

Businesswoman Hilary Devey has received a CBE from the Queen. The former star of Dragon's Den has strong links to the Midlands.

  • Hilary once worked at Littlewoods.
  • She runs Pall Ex, a Leicestershire based freight company.
  • She has an honorary degree from the University of Leicester.
  • Hilary lives near Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.
  • Hilary supports the Stroke Association after suffering a near fatal stroke in 2009.


  1. National

'Humble' Hilary Devey thanks fans for CBE messages

Former Dragons' Den star Hilary Devey said she is "so humble" to have received a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Thanking her fans for their congratulations on Twitter, she wrote:

  1. National

Former Dragon 'flattered and flabbergasted' by CBE

Former Dragons' Den star Hilary Devey said she is "flattered and flabbergasted" after being awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

The businesswoman, who made her fortune after launching freight haulage firm Pall-Ex, rose from humble beginnings as a Bolton girl who remembers the bailiffs calling when her father's central heating business went bankrupt.

Hilary Devey said she is 'flattered and flabbergasted' after being awarded a CBE. Credit: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire

Ms Devey who suffered a near-fatal stroke in 2009, also campaigns for a number of charities and is a patron of the Stroke Association and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

She said, "It is wonderful to receive such recognition, but this should be less about me, and more about the charities that I support and the amazing transport sector in which I am privileged to work".

Ms Devey dedicated her honour to the charities she has tried to support "as well as to the lorry drivers, forklift truck drivers and everyone else who works in the logistics sector: the unsung heroes of British industry".

  1. National

Queen's birthday honours - how they work

  • Knighthoods - Men are styled "Sir" and women "Dame" and are honoured "for having a major contribution in any activity, usually at national level."
  • CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) - Awarded for a "prominent but lesser role [than those awarded knighthoods] at national level."
  • OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) - Awarded for "having a major local role in any activity."
  • MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) - Awarded for "a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community."


Symphony Hall Director "immensely proud" to be honoured

Symphony Hall director Andrew Jowett awarded an OBE Credit: ITV Central

The Director of Symphony Hall in Birmingham says he is "immensely proud" after being awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours. It comes in the year Symphony Hall celebrates its 21st anniversary.

Andrew Jowett was appointed Director in 1988 - three years before Symphony Hall opened.

Andrew Jowett said “I am immensely proud to receive this honour for leading Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham and it is particularly appropriate this year when Symphony Hall is celebrating its 21st anniversary.

Running these two world renowned concert halls is an absolute joy and privilege and, in accepting this honour, I do so on behalf of everyone who has helped make them a major force on the national and international music scene, connecting over half a million people to music every year.”


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