More than 90 people from across Northern Ireland have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, including a war widow who went into politics after her husband’s death.
Former DUP MLA Brenda Hale, from Dromara in Co Down, has been awarded an OBE for her political service in the years since her husband, Captain Mark Hale, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.
The 42-year-old had been helping to carry a wounded soldier to safety when he was caught up in a bomb blast in Helmand province.
“This is something I would have given my world to share with him,” Mrs Hale said.
“On the flip side of the coin, it is because of what happened to Mark in Afghanistan that set me on the road to politics and actually led me to receiving this honour.”
Mrs Hale added that she was “incredibly humbled” that she had the opportunity to meet brave men and women from all walks of life through her political career.
Meanwhile, Children’s Heartbeat Trust chief executive Sarah Quinlan has been awarded an MBE for services to children and young people with congenital heart disease.
She said it was a reflection of the collective effort by all those at the trust who support children and families.
“Our organisation is dependent upon the support of the general public and especially the family support network we have developed right across Northern Ireland,” she said.
“The children and young people living with heart disease are the heroes of this issue and we will continue to support them to the best of our ability.”
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin also receives an OBE for his role in policing. He has served for over 32 years in the force, helping the communities in Northern Ireland.
Mr Martin said he was delighted and felt extremely privileged to be a recipient.
“I regard this OBE as recognition for the entire police service and for all of the officers and staff I have served alongside over the years and for those I have had the honour to lead,” he said.
“We have worked hard to serve all communities in Northern Ireland, often during challenging times, to make this a safer place for everyone.”
Former Northern Ireland Women’s football captain Sara Booth has been awarded an MBE for her services to women’s football.
Ms Booth was tournament director of last year’s Women’s U19s European Championship held in Northern Ireland.
She told UTV she is incredibly proud to receive royal recognition.
David Peter Gosnell, the executive chairman of Bushmills Irish Whiskey, has been awarded an OBE medal for his service to the economy.
Mr Gosnell has worked in Northern Ireland for 40 years and has been with Bushmills since 2005.
“I always wanted to make a positive difference to people’s lives and I’m delighted to be receiving this recognition,” he said.
Norman Houston, director of the Northern Ireland Executive Bureau in Washington DC, is also a recipient of an OBE for promoting Northern Ireland overseas.
Among those to receive a Commander of the British Empire honour in this year’s list is the chief inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.
Brendan McGuigan said he was both delighted and honoured to receive what was an unexpected award.
“This recognition is about the people I have had the opportunity to work alongside within the justice family,” he said.
Forensic Science NI chief executive Stanley Brown also received a CBE.