ANNE Donaghy, the Chief Executive of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, says she is “extremely honoured” to have been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The honours were delayed from June until now because of the covid pandemic.
Ms Donaghy was given the honour “for service to Local Government and the community in County Antrim during Covid-19.”
Other local honours recipients include: Ballymena bowler Barbara Cameron who has been awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal).
She is the manager of the Ireland International Ladies’ Outdoor Bowls Team and receives the honour “for services to Lawn Bowls in Northern Ireland”.
Another person honoured in the awards is Brian Gault from Broughshane ‘for services to Thalidomide Survivors in Brazil and Children with Disabilities throughout the World’.
The name Gault features again locally. This time Mrs Susan Gault (Ballymena), Head of Public Health Nursing, Northern Trust, who was honoured “for services to healthcare particularly during Covid-19.”
Over the past six months Mrs Gault has been leading the busy Covid-19 testing unit at the Braid Valley Hospital site in Ballymena.
In that time the unit has tested over 1,200 people including hospital staff and nursing home staff .
Susan began her career as a nurse at the Waveney Hospital in Ballymena in 1982 and for the last 14 years has been managing Public Health Nursing in the Trust.
“It is such an honour to be recognised for my services to healthcare especially during what is the International Year of the Nurse,” she said.
“I became a nurse 38 years ago and I have always worked within the Northern Trust. Over the last six months I have led the Covid-19 testing centre at the Braid Valley.
“It has been a very busy time for us all and whilst I have been given the recognition I must pay tribute to the work and dedication of all the teams within public health.
“I would like to thank the Covid testing teams who have worked tirelessly to ensure our vital services continue.
“All the testing we do goes to the Antrim lab and they work extremely hard too to make sure the results go out as quickly as possible.”
She added: “It really was a lovely surprise to find out I had been awarded an MBE.”
Gloria Alexandra Moore (Ballymena) was honoured with a BEM ‘for services to people with Parkinson’s Disease in Northern Ireland’.
Georgina Margaret Calwell (Ballymena), Manager, Adult SLT Team, South Eastern Trust was recognised with a BEM ‘for services to Speech and Language Therapy particularly during Covid-19’.
Mrs Muriel Evelyn Barr (Ballymena) received a BEM ‘for services to the Northern
Regarding Anne Donaghy’s award, in a Council press release, Councillor Peter Johnston, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, said: “As a Council, we are extremely proud to see Anne’s unparalleled commitment to delivering excellent public services recognised and rewarded with an OBE from Her Majesty the Queen.
“Working closely in partnership with our Elected Members, Anne has guided our Council – and indeed the wider Borough of Mid and East Antrim – through many significant challenges in recent years, and none have been larger than Covid-19.
“Anne has led from the front throughout this crisis, providing the full support and backing for our community and businesses from the very beginning, ensuring the delivery of crucial frontline services, and putting measures in place so our residents have access to the very essentials many of us had taken for granted before the pandemic hit.
“Through her vision, ambition and leadership, the Borough has also benefited from many tremendous opportunities and will continue to do so in the years to come.
“We are proud to have a Chief Executive who is so highly regarded as a role model for public service and women in leadership throughout the UK. On behalf of all of my Elected Member colleagues, I offer Anne my sincerest congratulations and every good wish for her continued success in her role at Mid and East Antrim.”
The Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Andrew Wilson, said: “No one ever meeting Anne could fail to acknowledge her sheer passion for this Borough and the unfaltering determination she demonstrates, day in and day out, in fighting for its economy and its people.
“She is strongly committed to developing and nurturing long-lasting partnerships across the local community, and with government at both Stormont and Westminster, for the benefit the citizens and businesses across our Borough and beyond.”
A mother of two – John (12) and Andrea (8) – Anne Donaghy said she was “extremely honoured” to be appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
“Whilst I am extremely taken aback and honoured to have received this award, this is not about individual recognition – it’s about recognising the outstanding combined efforts of the entire Elected Members and officer team at Mid and East Antrim,” she said.
“In particular, I would pay tribute to our Elected Members across all political parties who, together, strive to deliver excellence across everything we do for the citizens and communities, businesses and tourists in Mid and East Antrim.”
Reflecting on her career, Ms Donaghy said she would encourage others to pursue opportunities in the local government sector in Northern Ireland.
“Working in local government is a truly rewarding career and one which affords many opportunities for professional development and progression,” she said.
“Stemming from a very humble background, I have been able to enjoy continued success and progression throughout my career thanks to the many people who have supported, guided and mentored me. I’m forever grateful to all those people who individually know who they are.”
Ms Donaghy said her greatest “source of strength and inspiration” throughout her career has been her two sisters, Kathleen and Geraldine. Geraldine sadly passed away aged 45 in March 2017 following a fight with ovarian cancer.
“I owe any success I have achieved in my career to my sisters, who have always been strong and steadfast in their support, advice and encouragement of everything I do. Whilst Geraldine is very sadly no longer with us, her spirit lives on and both she and Kathleen continue to be a great source of strength and inspiration every day.”
The Mayor also congratulated all people with associations with the borough following their inclusion in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Among those honoured are borough residents who have been recognised for their commitment to the community, charities, healthcare and Local Government.
Mayor Johnston said: “I am delighted to see the hard work, dedication and selflessness of so many local people being rewarded in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
“These individuals are making a huge impact on the lives of so many and the communities they live and work in. All too often that unwavering dedication goes without proper recognition and it is wonderful to see it being celebrated.
“My heartfelt appreciation and congratulations are extended to everyone who has received these prestigious awards.”