MBEs for ordinary people who did extraordinary work

New Year Honours: Unsung Heroes

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The Independent Online

A former dinner-lady, a student, a caretaker, stonemason and a puppeteer are among ordinary people who did extraordinary things, alongside the familiar array of celebrities, sports stars and civil servants. Seventy per cent of recipients have been recognised for "outstanding work in their communities", often as volunteers.

Jeanette Orrey inspired Jamie Oliver's healthy eating in schools campaign after she transformed the menu at St Peter's school in East Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, and encouraged pupils to eat organic food.

Mrs Orrey said she was "humbled and shocked" at her MBE. She has written two books on her experiences and is planning a third.

Kirsty Ashton, a 21-year-old student from Manchester, combines her studies and coping with serious health problems with raising tens of thousands for charity. The MBE is for her work for When You Wish Upon A Star, which pays for sick and terminally ill children to go on holiday.

Another 21-year-old, Robyn Keeble, from Rainham, Essex, is appointed MBE for her work in encouraging teenagers to become involved in their communities.

A lifetime of charity work is recognised with an MBE for Joy Philippou, who is now focusing on helping young people to leave gangs. Ms Philippou, 83, from Bromley, Kent, created the STAR Foundation to recognise young adults who are 'sociable, trustworthy and responsible'.

A caretaker, Robert Owen, is appointed MBE for services to the community in Holyhead, Anglesey, along with Mary Watt, who is rewarded for services to Highland dance teaching in Ross-shire.

Specialist skills are recognised in MBEs for the stonemason Alan Horsfield for his work on St Paul's Cathedral and to the puppeteer Lyndie Wright, of the Little Angel Theatre in Islington, north London.

New Year Honours List 2012:  
* Knights Bachelor
* Order of the Bath
* Royal Victorian Order, Royal Victorian Medal, and Colonial Police and Fire Service Medal
* Order of the British Empire, Civil - GBE, DBE, CBE
* Order of the British Empire, Civil - OBE
* Order of the British Empire, Civil - MBE
* Diplomatic Services and Overseas List
* Commonwealth
* Military Division
* Sundries