Jubilee honours for Lancashire leaders

By Tim Aldred

02 Jun 2022

The Platinum Jubilee has brought prestigious honours for Miranda Barker, Kam Kothia and Dame Sue Ion.

Miranda Barker has earned an OBE for services to business and the community in Lancashire. Miranda was appointed as chief executive of the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce in 2017 following more than 20 years as a board member, president, council and assembly member, bidding partner and policy adviser with various chambers in the North West.

Her business experience includes establishing an SME in environmental consulting which she ran for 15 years before selling it and becoming a director of a plc for four years. She has worked with business clients across sectors as wide-ranging as food, chemicals, pharma, energy, waste, farming, manufacturing, FMCG, engineering, automotive and aerospace, with clients across the UK, northern, western and eastern Europe, Brazil, USA and China.

Today, she is an active member of a wide variety of business support organisations, as an SME champion within the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, a director of Hive and Growth Lancashire, a member of Burnley Bondholders, Pendle Vision, Amazing Accrington and chair of Ribble Valley Business Leaders and Rossendale Business Leaders. She is also chair of the North West’s Regional Manufacturing Forum and sits on the ESIF committee.

Kam Kothia has earned an OBE for his outstanding services to education. He is the co-founder and chair of Star Acadamies which has grown from operating a single school in Blackburn to a national network of 31 primary and secondary schools. In the government’s most recent performance tables (2019), Star schools secured first, second and third places in the national rankings, with five in total in the top 15. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Kam oversaw the implementation of community initiatives, including the creation of Star Family Hubs in 13 towns and cities which provided foodbanks, hot meals, hygiene products and PPE to local families, charities and health workers. More recently, Star has entered into a landmark partnership with Eton College to open three selective sixth form colleges to fast-track young people, often from deprived communities, to the most academic UK universities.

Kam was previously chair of governors at Tauheedul Islam Girls’ High School and Sixth Form College (TIGHS) where, during 15 years, he led the school’s transformation from a small independent school to the best-performing state school in the country, which secured three consecutive ‘outstanding’ Ofsted inspection ratings.

He is also chief executive of web development firm eBusiness UK, founder of multi-million pound ecommerce enterprise Time2 Technology, serves on the board of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership as lead for the digital sector strategy, is a regimental council member of the Duke of Lancaster Regiment and serves as a deputy lieutenant of Lancashire assisting the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire in carrying out his public duties as representative of Her Majesty the Queen.

Kam said: "It is a great privilege and an honour to have been awarded an OBE, especially in the year of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It is truly humbling to be part of such a talented and dedicated team, and I am proud of what we have collectively achieved – especially during the most challenging and extraordinary times over the past couple of years."

The grand cross, the highest honour, has been awarded to Dame Sue Ion for services to engineering. The former Penwortham Girls Grammar School and current Leyland resident has spent a distinguished career in the nuclear field, chairing the UK Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board, representing the UK as chair of the Euratom Science and Technology Committee and serving as the only non US member of the US Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee.

Dame Sue spent 27 years with BNFL rising to the position of chief technology officer in 1992, a post she held until 2006 when she assumed a number of mainly voluntary roles in science and engineering, including membership of the UK Council for Science and Technology. She was vice president of the Royal Academy of Engineering from 2002 to 2008.

In 2019 she was conferred with an Honorary Fellowship by the Institute of Physics, an honour also earned by Professor Stephen Hawking, Professor Peter Higgs and Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell.

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