Blackburn educator receives knighthood

A Blackburn man leading a nationwide network of high-performing academies has received a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, alongside two women who have received MBEs for their work in the community.

Hamid Patel has been the chief executive officer of Star Academies since 2010 and has overseen its ascension to one of the highest-performing multi-academy trusts in England.

In the government’s most recent performance tables, Star schools secured first, second and third places in the national rankings, with five schools in total in the top 15.

Hamid said: "This is a tribute for all those who have worked so hard at Star Academies whose care, diligence and passion continue to inspire young people and nurture tomorrow’s leaders. All those involved with our schools at every level – our talented teachers, and our supportive parents, governors and wider community – have made a telling contribution to the positive impact we have had on the lives of so many children and young people."

Liz Tapner, chief exeuctive of Skelmersdale-based Selnet has received an MBE for services to social enterprise.

Selnet represents the interests of Lancashire’s social businesses at regional and national level. Over 15 years, Liz has been responsible for developing her organisation into the major infrastructure organisation and securing more than £23m investment through a variety of projects and contracts. 

She said: "I have had over 15 amazing years working with some phenomenal social entrepreneurs. I love my work, helping others has helped me personally through some difficult times, and supports my own mental health.

"Being recognised in this way, I feel humbled - it’s an unexpected honour. I went from being a service user with serious challenges, to becoming a CEO – and now I’m honoured at being awarded an MBE!"

Katherine O'Connor, a senior policy manager within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has received an MBE for services to business and the community in North West England.

Her previous roles include tourism and advertising manager at Blackpool Council, a regional role at the North West Regional Development Agency and she was a North West business lead for the London 2012 Olympics.

She has also dedicated more than 25 years to voluntary and community projects in and around her hometown, Blackpool. 

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