Queen's birthday honours list - two local men honoured .

A rugby union coach from Pontefract and a passenger transport assistant from Knottingley have been recognised in this year’s  Queen’s birthday honours list - bestowed  to highlight good works by members of the community.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 10:30 pm
Shaw Harvey who was awarded the BEM for his work with the community in Knottingley

Simon Middleton, England women’s head coach has been awarded the MBE for services to rugby union and Shaw Harvey has been awarded a BEM for services to his community in Knottingley.

Mr Middleton, 55, is a former rugby union and professional rugby league player who turned out for a number of clubs including Castleford and Knottingley.

He was part of a Castleford side that won the 1994 Regal Trophy final against Wigan beating them 33-2 at Headingley.

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England rugby league women's head coach Simon Middleton is awarded the MBE

At the age of 32 he began playing rugby union for Leeds Tykes and then when he retired from playing spent the next 11 years as their coach.

He has been head coach of England Women since 2015 winning four Women’s Six Nations titles, with Grand Slams in 2017, 2019 and 2020, and guiding the side to the 2017 World Cup final.

He said: “Being awarded the MBE is beyond anything I could have expected and I feel privileged and proud.

“My life has been in rugby and it has given so much to me. My family has been hugely supportive and I’m so glad I am able to share this with them.”

When Shaw Harvey, 42, found an email in his inbox saying he’d been put forward to receive a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, he initially thought someone was pulling his leg.

And it wasn’t until he managed to get hold of the Cabinet Office that he realised it was true.

Mr Harvey was awarded his medal for services to the community in Knottingley.

Before the first lockdown he began volunteering at the local food bank: “I volunteered as the foodbank had assisted me in the past and I wanted to put something back,” he said.

But, when the lockdown started the foodbank closed. He immediately offered his volunteering services to Knottingley Community Hub which was being set up at Kellingley Social Club.

The hub has been key to supporting the elderly and at-risk members of the community and the 30 volunteers offer prescription collections, grass cutting and dog walking along with food parcels.

Mr Harvey, who is a passenger transport assistant for Wakefield council added: “I’m just a humble bloke who used my experience in retail and working in charity shops to help out at the hub.

“I didn’t expect to receive recognition like this.”