New Year Honours for West Midlands business leaders

New Year Honours for West Midlands business leaders

A number of business leaders from across the West Midlands have been honoured by HRH The Queen in her New Year Honours List for 2017.

Colin Bryan, the son of the founder of Drayton Manor Park was just one of the names featured in the list after receiving an OBE for his charity work and his ongoing contribution to the tourism sector.

Back in 1949, Mr and Mrs George and Vera Bryan OBE purchased a derelict property together with 80 acres of land near Tamworth, Staffordshire.  

Not long after, they set about transforming the site, which had once been the home of Sir Robert Peel, into a leisure park that would be affordable, reachable and open to all. Today, in its 66th year, Drayton Manor is one of the top five theme parks in the UK.

Colin said: “My parents opened the park in 1950 and I have been working there since I was a young boy, when my first job was helping them clear the rubble with my miniature wheelbarrow.

“I have worked in nearly every department over the years and qualified as a chef to really understand what makes the park and catering companies what they are today.

“It is in my blood so I feel very honoured to receive this OBE. I still love watching our guests have fun, enjoying themselves, knowing I have played a part in that.”

Les Ratcliffe, Jaguar Land Rover’s head of community relations, has also been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for outstanding service to the community in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Les became head of community relations in 1998 and has made a significant, positive impact across Jaguar Land Rover operations in the UK, as well as helping shape the company's corporate social responsibility agenda globally.

Working closely across the West Midlands, Coventry, Warwickshire and the North West with organisations such as Business in the Community (BITC), strategic partnerships and local communities, Les has developed a wide-reaching community relations programme which includes business relationships, education, employee volunteering and charitable support.

He said: “It’s a huge honour to be awarded an MBE. My 43 years’ service has been an extraordinary journey, starting with Jaguar after serving in the Parachute Regiment. I am passionate about the opportunity to put Jaguar Land Rover at the heart of the communities we do business in.

“Our programme focuses on inspiring young people from all areas of the community and supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged children. I feel privileged to have been part of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to future talent and helping our sites to build meaningful, long-term relationships in the community as a socially responsible company.”

A number of other business leaders were also recognised among the list including:

Davinder Kaur, chief executive of Sweda and chairman of Sandwell Consortium, who received a BEM for services to women's enterprise and the community in Sandwell.

Miriam Harvey, who received a BEM for services to heritage and tourism in Worcester.

Helena Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, who received an MBE for services to carers.

Allen Matty, managing director of the West Midlands Chambers of Commerce, who received an MBE for his services to international trade.

Shezad Nawab, co-founder and chief operating officer of Sfhere, who received an MBE for services to business and diversity.

Keith Bott, partner at Titanic Brewery and chairman of SIBA, who received an MBE for services to the brewing industry and the economy in Staffordshire.

Sue Wilkinson, chief executive of the Association for Physical Education, who received an MBE for services to education.