New Year Honours for Claverdon and Leek Wootton women and Leamington and Kenilworth men

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A champion for the pro-life movement and a volunteer and fundraiser for the NSPCC have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Professor Jack Scarisbrick, of Leamington, has been made an MBE.

He said it was for his work with the children’s hospice Zoë’s Place and the Life Fertilitycare Programme – a pro-life alternative to IVF and other forms of assisted conception.

Prof Scarisbrick taught history at the University of Warwick for 25 years until 1994 and he and his wife Nuala founded Leamington-based Life in 1970 in response to the 1967 Abortion Act.

Prof Scarisbrick said the MBE had come as a surprise because his work and beliefs were judged by some as “not politically correct”, adding: “We are the antithesis of the Blackdown Clinic (an abortion centre in Milverton).

“I’m a democrat and I’m opposed to abortion as I’m opposed to racism or sexism.

“I regard the MBE as a great honour – not just for me, but for Zoë’s Place and the pro-life movement.”

In 1995 he founded the Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice and is chairman of the trustees.

Prof Scarisbrick saw that a large number of families with children suffering with terminal or life-threatening conditions needed specialist support and facilities.

The name Zoë’s Place was chosen since Zoë is the Greek word meaning Gift of Life and the first hospice was in Liverpool, followed by Middlesborough , which offer terminal and respite care, and Ash Green, near Coventry, which offers respite care.

He said: “Parents who had the courage not to have a child terminated because they are identified as severely disabled in the womb need all the support and encouragement they can get.”

Prof Scarisbrick, who has two daughters, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary.

Also made an MBE is Anne Morris, of Claverdon, for her fundraising and support work for the NSPCC, who as part of many fundraising initiatives and committees has helped raised hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Aged 81, she said the honour had come as “rather a surprise” after more than 40 years of NSPCC voluntary work.

Mrs Morris said: “I look on it as an honour for the many, many other people who help the NSPCC.

“We are a family of fundraisers and we have lots to do and need more money.”

She said the demand for the charity’s work had increased since the revelation of Jimmy Saville’s sex abuse and other high-profile people accused or convicted of sex crimes.

“Sexual abuse of children has always been there – but it was not talked about.”

She said since the Saville revelations calls and texts to ChildLine, the Birmingham-based NSPCC helpline, had increased dramatically.

Mrs Morris has lived in Claverdon for 10 years and has three children and nine grandchildren. Her work for the NSPCC started first with door-to-door collections in Knowle, near Balsall Common, and has included countless jumble sales, gala events and the annual Super Soup lunches at Hampton-on-the-Hill village hall – the last raising more than £1,000.

She has held senior positions in the Birmingham branch, which covers Warwickshire, and has been a divisional vice-president.

Mrs Morris said she was encouraged to help the NSPCC by her father, adding: “I was rather shy and I’m eternally grateful to him for pushing me into helping.

“He remembered the terrible poverty – children with no shoes.

“I have had the most rewarding and interesting past. You meet people from all walks of life because we need to do something to help the children.”

Also in the honours list is Prof Gwyneth Stallard, of Leek Wootton, who was made an OBE for services to higher education. She is a professor of pure mathematics at the Open University.

While Douglas Faulconbridge, of Kenilworth, a Parcelforce worker, was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Royal Mail and the community.

*Knighted for services to higher education is Professor Nigel Thrift (pictured second), vice-chancellor of the University of Warwick.

He was made vice-chancellor in 2006 and continues as an international research figure in the field of geography while head of the university.

He said: “This honour is a wonderful way of helping to mark the very first day of the university’s 50th anniversary year.

“I want to thank staff, students alumni and our supporters and donors – who have played their part in Warwick’s many attainments.”