THE New Year Honours List was revealed today.
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott said: “It is extraordinary to see nine British nationals awarded at the same time – a real testament to the depth and diversity of the UK-Spain relationship and to the contribution that so many British nationals make to their communities across Spain.
Brian Thomas McLeod, an entertainer who performs under the name of Stevie Spit, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to charity.
Dr Charles Betty, formally retired, but still a very active Charity and Community Worker, has been awarded an MBE for services to British Nationals Overseas.
Charles Betty served as a Corporal in the Welsh Fusiliers and participated in the D-Day Landings. On returning to the UK, he trained as a teacher and served as a school inspector into retirement.
After moving to Spain he became an active volunteer, co-founding Age Care and establishing a volunteer interpreter service in his local health centre to help older British people having problems communicating with medical staff.
This service has now expanded along the Costa del Sol. At the age of 95, he continues to contribute to the Embassy and Consulates’ understanding of the needs of older British people in Spain. He was recently awarded the distinguished French Legion D’Honneur medal for services in World War II.
In the Costa Blanca north region, Mark Petrie, Honorary Consul for Denia, has been awarded an MBE for services to British Nationals Overseas, while Brian Thomas McLeod, an entertainer who performs under the name of Stevie Spit, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to charity.
Mark Petrie has provided support to British nationals in and around Denia for over 30 years. He has helped countless citizens in difficult situations such as bereavement, hospitalisation or arrest; first as a volunteer, then as an Honorary Consular Agent and, for the last 11 years, as Honorary Consul.
The area in which he works has a huge number of British nationals, more than 7,000 in Jávea and Denia alone, and he is so well known in the local area that he is the first port of call for any British national in trouble.
When not working in Spain as one of the Costa Blanca’s top female impersonators, under his stage name of Stevie Spit, Brian McLeod dedicates much of his time to fundraising and has personally assisted scores of charities. Among those he has helped are the Elche Children’s Care Home, he almost singlehandedly raised enough money to send Natasha Lynch to the USA for lifesaving medical treatment and, at great risk to himself, he took his drag act to Kabul, where he raised thousands of dollars for local causes.
Maureen Payne, President of Age Concern, Costa Blanca Sur, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to British Nationals Overseas.
Maureen has been a volunteer for Age Concern for 15 years, nine of those as president. She works tirelessly to ensure the smooth running of the organisation and is a wonderful ambassador. Since Maureen became the president of Age Concern she has helped triple the number of volunteers and has been instrumental in the expansion of the services it offers. One of the things she has personally driven forward is an initiative to work closely with the local doctor’s surgery to discuss support for the elderly in the area.
Christine Hyer, President of the Cancer Support Group in Mallorca, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to British Nationals Overseas.
Having lost her younger sister to cancer, Christine (known as Krista) responded to an appeal for a support group in Mallorca by saying that if there wasn’t one, she would start it. She assisted patients and their families to get to their appointments and, as a qualified counsellor, offered her own services for free. The range of support provided by the group has grown year on year with many businesses also now contributing their services free of charge. In 2013 Christine was given a Citizen’s Award by the Ajuntament de Calvia.
The nine UK nationals named in the New Year Honours List are:
- An MBE to Mr Mark Petrie, Honorary Consul, Denia, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
- An MBE to Dr Charles Betty, Charity and Community Worker in Spain; retired. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
- An MBE to Mr Christopher Mark Dottie, President, British Chamber of Commerce, Spain. “For services to British business in Spain.”
- A British Empire Medal (BEM) to Mrs Christine (Krista) Ann Hyer, President, Cancer support Group, Mallorca. “For services to the British Nationals Overseas.”
- A BEM to Mr Brian Thomas McLeod, Entertainer, Spain. “For services to charity.”
- A BEM to Mrs Betty Burgess, volunteer, Las Palmas, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
- A BEM to Mrs Maureen Payne, President, Age Concern, Costa Blanca Sur, Alicante, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
- A BEM to Mrs Sheila Stuart, Chairperson, British Ladies Association, Madrid, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”
- A BEM to Mrs Veronica Wheeler, President, British Benevolent Association of Girona, Spain. “For services to British Nationals Overseas.”