Queen's Honours List: Michael Howard, Janet Suzman and more

By Jessica Elgot and Jennifer Lipman, June 11, 2011
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Michael Howard

Michael Howard

The former Conservative leader Michael Howard has been made a Companion of Honour. He was honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours List along with one of Britain's leading champions of interfaith relations, an Oscar-nominated actress and a rabbi.

The first Jewish leader of a major party, Lord Howard of Lympne served as a cabinet minister for 12 years, serving as Home Secretary, Secretary of State for the Environment, and Secretary of State for Employment.

Dr Edward Kessler, the founder and director of the Cambridge-based Woolf Institute Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish relations, was made an MBE. Dr Kessler, who founded the educational charity in 1998, said he saw the honour as a sign of the success of the Woolf Institute in fostering better understanding and relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims."

Dr Kessler, who grew up in London, has degrees from the universities of Leeds, Stirling and Harvard as well as a PhD from Cambridge. Considered one of the most influential academics discussing religion and theology today, he was given the Sternberg Interfaith Award in 2006.

He thanked the donors, supporters and patrons who helped to make his vision possible. "Understanding relations between faith communities is not an optional extra; neither is it to be feared," said Dr Kessler. "All faith communities can (and do) make an enormous positive contribution to our civil society.'

Janet Suzman in Nicholas and Alexandra

Janet Suzman in Nicholas and Alexandra

Actress and director Janet Suzman, 72, was made a dame. The Johannesburg-born actress, the niece of the anti-apartheid activist Helen Suzman, was nominated for an Academy Award for her first film lead in the 1971 drama Nicholas and Alexandra.

In a career spanning five decades, she played almost the full list of Shakespeare's female leads, including Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, Beatrice in Much Ado and Ophelia in Hamlet, as well as directing adaptations of Othello and The Cherry Orchard.

"Being honoured was a suprise," she said. "I'm inevitably thrilled but I was knocked sideways by it. An honour is a peculiar thing as it is what others think of you. But it is quite simply an honour."

Also among those awarded MBEs were Reverend Michael Binstock and Rabbi Dr Chanan Tomlin.

Rabbi Tomlin, 47, was honored for services to education and to the Jewish community in Manchester and London. The Salford-based rabbi was born in Israel and grew up in Toronto, Canada. He is a school inspector of Jewish and non-Jewish schools in Manchester and London.

The former chairman of Talking Matters, a strictly Orthodox counselling service in Stamford Hill, the father of 10 now runs a counselling charity in Manchester for children in crisis, dealing with issues of drug abuse, family breakdown and mental health problems. He said: "I actually received it on my birthday, although I don't think they timed it that way. I don't believe I deserve it for one minute, I can think of so many people who do, but nevertheless it is a great honour. I'm going to make sure I keep doing exactly what I'm doing."

Rev Binstock was selected for his work as the director of the Jewish Prison Chaplaincy, which has included conducting services and running Hebrew lessons in prisons, as well as visiting the families back home. Rev Binstock, who is also a faith advisor to the prison service, was the minister of Staines Synagogue until 2008 and has also served communities in Hull, Brixton and Palmers Green.

He took on a teaching job at Sinai School in 1981 and has been involved in Jewish education throughout his career.

"I'm delighted and very proud," said Rev Binstock. "I had no inkling it would happen. But the truth is I have a team of 40 chaplains throughout the country and across the community. The job would not be possible without them."

Former Scout leader Adrienne Sussman, 79, received an MBE for voluntary service. She was the Scout leader of 19th Finchley Scout Group and one time assistant district commissioner for the movement.
She began her involvement in 1969, and all her three children were involved in scouting and guiding. She is also passionate about Youth Aliyah Child Rescue, and spent ten years co-chairing the committee for the charity.

She said: "It was such a wonderful surprise. My husband has an MBE too, so it's keeping it in the family. I could not have done it without the wonderful people I work with in the scouts." The family are members of Finchley Synagogue and run the Adrienne And Leslie Sussman Charitable Trust.

The founding director of Stamford Hill school, Side-by-Side, Rebecca Rumpler was awarded an OBE for services to special educational needs. Mrs Rumpler started Side by Side 14 years ago after struggling to find a school which would take her son, who was born with Down's Syndrome. The charity now supports and educate more than 70 children and provide a wide range of therapies.

Leeds fundraiser Regina Waldman was made an MBE in honour of nearly 50 years of service to the Jewish care home Donisthorpe Hall and other charities. Mrs Waldman, 84, began volunteering there in 1964 and never looked back, going on to raise money for new lifts, wheelchairs and even a cinema and a garden for the home.

"I never imagined that from my modest beginnings I would receive such a prestigious award," she said. "It's a great thrill - I'm deeply humbled and very honoured."

Alan Graham was made MBE for his services to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, for which he has served six years as chairman of the board of trustees.

Mr Graham, a Bushey Synagogue board member, was also honoured for other voluntary roles including for Wizo UK and his role as a governor of the University of Hertfordshire.

"I had absolutely no idea it would happen," said Mr Graham, 63. "It was complete surprise when the letter arrived on my desk.

"Such awards, although given to individuals, are a reflection of many peoples' work and contribution over many years. Nonetheless, it is very gratifying and most humbling. I am, of course, honoured and flattered."

Dianne Jeffrey, the chairman of Age UK, was awarded a CBE in honour of her longstanding commitment to public service. Mrs Jeffrey, who lives in the Peak District and is a member of the Sheffield Jewish community, has served a variety of roles including as chairman of two NHS trusts, chairman of the University of Derby and High Sheriff of the county of Derbyshire.

She said she was absolutely astounded to receive the letter informing her of the honour. "I suspected it was a practical joke," she said. "I had to sit down when I heard and my husband said I went all white. It's very humbling and exciting."

The chief executive of In Kind Direct, Robin Boles, has been made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order – an honour given specifically for personal service to the monarch. The charity, which Mrs Boles has run for 15 years, was set up by the Prince of Wales in 1996. It collects surplus goods from companies such as Unilever, Argos and Proctor & Gamble and distributes them to thousands of charities.

The American-born former tax lawyer said: "The Prince is very particular: when he sees something go to waste, he can't stand it. The whole charity was his idea."

Mrs Boles, 56, lives in Leatherhead, Surrey, and attends North West Surrey Synagogue. She said: "I received a letter from the Prince offering me his 'warmest possible congratulations'. It was wonderful. It just makes you determined to work even harder."

The former chair of "Visit London," Tamara Ingram, has received an OBE for services to tourism. The West London Synagogue member is a former chief executive of the advertising agency, Saatchi& Saatchi, and sits on the boards of the Almeida Theatre and Save the Children.

Ms Ingram is now Executive Managing Director of Grey Global Group and works with Proctor & Gamble through Sir Martin Sorrell's advertising firm WPP. Chair of Visit London for nine years, Ms Ingram was shortlisted for the Verve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year in 2006.

Ceramicist Edmund de Waal has been made an OBE for services to art. He recently published a critically acclaimed exploration into his family history, "The Hare With the Amber Eyes" which delved into his Jewish ancestry, the Ephrussi family.

Last updated: 10:38am, June 14 2011