Incredible Harrogate woman talks about her excitement at getting award in Queen's Birthday Honours List

A Harrogate woman who has shown incredible strength of character since she was in an accident crossing Skipton Road nearly 13 years ago has talked about her amazement at being recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 1:57 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 1:58 pm
Ex-Harrogate High School student Lauren Doherty - “To receive recognition from the Queen for the work I do around Road Safety is, in my opinion, the highest accolade I can receive."
Ex-Harrogate High School student Lauren Doherty - “To receive recognition from the Queen for the work I do around Road Safety is, in my opinion, the highest accolade I can receive."

Despite still being paralysed and in a wheelchair since the accident in 2008, Lauren Doherty, has spoken in person to more than 2,000 school children of all ages in the Harrogate district about how to stay safe.

Such is the reputation of the Road Safety Talks by Lauren Doherty series - which sees this brave young woman using her personal experiences to educate children and adults about road safety and disabilities - that before the start of the pandemic she would often receive invitations from schools and businesses in other parts of the country.

As a result of her incredible efforts she is to receive the BEM for services to education.

After news of her honour was made public, Lauren, who lives in Knaresborough, said: “I was absolutely overwhelmed when I was asked if I would accept a British Empire Medal in the Queens 2021 Birthday Honours.

“To receive recognition from the Queen for the work I do around Road Safety is, in my opinion, the highest accolade I can receive.

“It has made everything I have been through and all the work I have done over the years, worthwhile.”

In that life-changing road traffic accident crossing Skipton Road in August 2008 when she was in her late teens, Lauren broke her spine in two places, as well as her pelvis.

Despite spending 16 months in different hospitals including Harrogate, Leeds and Sheffield, that single moment left Lauren paralysed and in need of round-the-clock care.

But the former Starbeck Primary, Harrogate High School and King James’s School pupil, who is now in her early 30s, refuses to let her injuries stop her living a full life, and she spends as much time as possible dedicated to helping others.

She has even continued her Road Safety Talks during the pandemic via the power of Zoom.

The royal honour is not the first award Lauren has received in recent years.

In 2019 she was recognised in the Yorkshire Choice Awards for Volunteer of the Year and The Kate Granger Award, which recognises people who have made significant and lasting contributions to others.

But Lauren feels she herself should be the grateful one.

She said: “A huge thank you must go to everyone who has supported me over the last 13 years, both personally and work wise.

“I couldn’t do what I do without the support of those around me.”

Since news of her BEM spread, Lauren has been surprised by the amount of good will which has come her way.

She said: “I am so overwhelmed with the amount of messages, tweets and comments I have received following the news I was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021.

“Thank you so much for everyone that reached out to me.”

MBE for highly-respected leader in Harrogate voluntary sector during Covid year

A leading figure in Harrogate district’s voluntary and community sector who has been praised for her magnificent part in the district’s Covid-19 response has been made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Frances Elliot, CEO of Harrogate and District Community Action (HADCA) was described by the charity’s chair of trustees as a “true ambassador”.

John Fox said: “During this unprecedented time, Frances has worked tirelessly to collaborate with our many partners in the district to bring about a coordinated Covid-19 response.

“Her unflustered approach to solving the significant challenges Covid has brought has won her universal respect.

“Frances’ commitment to helping others has been mirrored in the phenomenal response we have seen from the community during this crisis.

“She is a true ambassador for the thriving community sector.”

Frances Elliot said: “Whilst I am extremely touched to receive this honour, I am accepting it on behalf of the legion of individuals and groups across the district who commit to making a difference.

“It is truly a joint effort, not least from my predecessor Karen Weaver. I feel privileged to play a part in such a caring, responsive community.”

Frances has been involved in the district’s voluntary sector for ten years.

For nine of these years, she led HADCA’s Harrogate Easier Living Project before taking over from Karen Weaver as head of HADCA in May 2020.

Since then the charity has played a vital role in getting people to vaccination appointments.

North Yorkshire figures on Queen’s Birthday Honours List

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List has honoured community stalwarts from across the Harrogate district and North Yorkshire.

Among the local recipients are:

MBE:

Louise Sarah Hodgson of Pateley Bridge, head of workforce development enabler at the College of Policing has received a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to Policing and Recruitment through the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Ian Michael Kirby of Tadcaster has been awarded the MBE For services to BT Global and Business Continuity during Covid-19.

Mr Kirby said: “From a personal perspective the delight and pride I’ve seen in my family and friends from the news has been amazing, especially my wife Susan. But this recognition is really a reflection of all the team work within BT Global.”

Rose Elizabeth Fearnley (pictured), Watch Manager at North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. (North Yorkshire).

BEM:

Stephanie Phillip. For services to Dance and Musical Theatre. (Skipton, North Yorkshire).

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