The New Years Honours List for 2020 has been published and among those recognised are some incredible people from the Meridian region.
Fifty year old Francis Benali from Southampton is being honoured with an MBE for services to cancer patients in the UK. The former Southampton FC footballer decided to test himself with a physical and mental challenge in 2014 to fundraise £1 million for Cancer Research UK.
He was told by medical professionals that his plan was physically impossible, but undeterred he set off on 'Benali's Big Run'. The challenge saw him run between all Premier League Football Grounds 20 clubs in 21 days. That is the equivalent of nearly two marathons a day.
He then embarked on 'Benali's Big Race'. He revisited all the Premier League Football Clubs, but this time, he stopped off at all Championship Grounds too - 44 Football Clubs in a fortnight, cycling at least 70 miles a day.
And in April 2019 he undertook a third Ultra Endurance challenge and reached his £1 million target. The week long challenge consisted of an Ironman distance triathlon each day for 7 days - 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles cycling, followed by 26.2 mile marathon each day. He had to be withdrawn by the medical team at the end of day 4 but went onto complete 5 triathlons in 7 days, after returning for the last day.
Sokphal Din who is 62 and from Basingstoke has been recognised for services to Holocaust Education. He'll get a BEM. He survived the Genocide in Cambodia, and volunteers his time to speak about his experiences across the UK.
Kevin Michael Saunders from North Baddesley in Hampshire, is set to get an MBE. It's for service to Policing and the community in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight ● As a volunteer Special Constable and Search and Rescue dog handler, he has devoted thousands of hours to developing police and volunteer search and rescue initiatives directly linked to finding vulnerable missing people over 12 years
WATCH: Mark Everett, former Director of The Marlowe Theatre to receive an MBE for services to the arts.
And Kaiya Swain from Pevensey in East Sussex will get a British Empire Medal. At 25 years old she has been honoured for services to the WorldSkills Competition. Kaiya was awarded the gold medal for beauty therapy at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017. Often referred to as the 'Skills Olympics', the competition brought together the world's most talented young people across the full range of skills that are vital for global economies.
Other recipients of MBEs include:
- Blower, Michael John (90, Farnham) - For services to the community in Farnham, Surrey
- Coldman, Graham Edward (76, Hever, Kent) - For services to the community in Edenbridge
- Chapman, John (84, Marlow, Buckinghamshire) For services to the community in Marlow, Buckinghamshire
- Hawkins, Edward (42, Reading, Berkshire) - For services to Climate Science and Science Communication
- Kentuck, Alison (45 Southampton, Hampshire) - For services to Salvage and Underwater Heritage
- Caddy, Robert Frederick (71, Andover, Hampshire) Foster Carer - For services to Children
- Caddy, Linda Pauline Ann (65, Andover, Hampshire) Foster Carer - For services to Children
- Thompson, Rosemary, (62, West Sussex - For services to the Armed Forces community
- Lamport, Lady Angela Vivien Paula (67, Cobham, Surrey) - For voluntary service to the Red Cross
- Todd, Colin Simpson (68, Farnham, Surrey) - For services to Fire Safety
- Boddington, Dominic James (66, Lymington, Hampshire) - For services to Alternative Education in Norfolk
- Goldingham, Jane Marian (62. Brighton, East Sussex) - For services to the Social Work Profession
- Batchelor, Diana Lindsey (60, Upton, Oxfordshire) - For services to Further and Adult Education
- Barry Middleton (35, Marlow, Buckinghamshire - For services to Hockey
- Bryan, Felicity Anne (74, Kidlington, Oxfordshire) - For services to Publishing
- Hudson-Wilkin, Rose Josephine (58, Canterbury, Kent) - For services to Young People and the Church
- Diment, Judith (73, Maidenhead, Berkshire) - For services to charity
- Ling, Linda Susan (69, Newbury, Berkshire) - For services to People with Disabilities
- Backshall, Stephen James (47, Maidenhead, Berkshire) - For services to charity and Wildlife Conservation
And those set to receive a BEM:
- Higgs, Colin Henry (85, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire) - For services to the community in Aston Abbotts, Buckinghamshire
- Burrows, Peter George (78, Brighton, East Sussex) For services to the community in Brighton, East Sussex
- Lester, Martin Ivor (76, West Sussex) - For services to the community in Lodsworth, West Sussex
- Rudd, Lesley Anne (58, Finchampstead, Wokingham, Berkshire) - For services to UK Energy Markets and Clean Growth
- Countess of Rosslyn, Helen (61, Berkshire) - For services to charity
- Lloyd, Melanie Ruth (53, Rainham, Kent) For services to Young People and the community in South East England
- Banks, Kerry Louise (46, Deal, Kent) - For services to Breast Cancer
- Thompson - Smith, Mark Kevan (60, Waterlooville, Hampshire) - For services to Music in Hampshire and West Sussex
- Bateson, Anthony David Ernest (86, Oxford, Oxfordshire) - For services to Health charities and People with Autism
- Barnley, Suzanne (50, Aldershot, Hampshire) - For voluntary and charitable service
- Rofe, Geoffrey Walter (94, Gravesend, Kent) - For services to Badminton and Young People
- Horton, John ( 83, Southampton, Hampshire) - For services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
- Warmington, Roland (61, Porchester, Hampshire) - For voluntary service to Lifesaving and to HM Coastguard
- Oliver-Wolff, Dorit (84, Eastbourne, East Sussex) - For services to Holocaust Education and Awareness
- Virdee, Harpreet Singh (38 Welling, Kent) - For services to the BAME community and to Diversity and Inclusion
- Rattigan, Samson Frederick (28 Brighton, East Sussex) - For services to Young People and Families from the Gypsy and Traveller communities in Sussex
- Fieldsend, John Henry (88, Thame, Oxfordshire) - For services to Holocaust Education