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Safeguarding champion who ran charity from driveway caravan leads list of Christians receiving New Year Honours

by Marcus Jones

The founder of the largest independent faith-based safeguarding charity in the UK has been awarded an MBE for services to safeguarding the vulnerable.

David Pearson led Thirtyone:eight (known previously as CCPAS) until his retirement in 2010.

From humble beginnings in a caravan parked on his driveway, the charity now employs 50 staff and engages with a network of over 10,000 churches, organisations and individuals both nationally and internationally.

He's spent 50 years providing advice and support on a range of safeguarding and child protection issues to the Christian community and wider society.

On accepting his MBE David said: "I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the exceptional people from whom I have learnt so much - survivors of abuse who bravely shared their pain; the untiring efforts of leaders and workers with children and adults in churches and organisations; my Thirtyone:eight colleagues, over four decades since I birthed the charity; to my family who have stood and worked with me throughout and with thankfulness, above all else, to God." 

Also receiving an MBE are Helen Elizabeth McHugh for services to education and to the Methodist Church in Northern Ireland, Rev David John Goronwy Evans for services to charity and to the community in Lampeter, West Wales and Rev Remelda Carey for services to the community.

Elsewhere, Nick Guttmann, head of the humanitarian division at Christian Aid has been awarded an OBE for services to humanitarian crises.

Christian Aid says Nick is a leader in his field with 28 years' experience in emergency response, preparedness and disaster risk reduction.  

A British Empire Medal (BEM) has been awarded to Martin Rowley for services to the community in York. Martin is a trustee of the Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network. He told Premier he was touched to receive his nomination. 

"I did feel very humbled and honoured that someone had gone to the length of nominating me," he said. "With a nomination you need to have two or three letters of support. Not only has someone nominated me but they've gone to the trouble of finding people to support that nomination. It's just a real genuine honour."

Also picking up a medal is Sunday school leader Freda Davies.

The 83-year-old has served at Hallows Church for over 50 years. She's been honoured for services to the community.

Speaking to Worcester News she said: "I would say my faith has been important. That has given me the energy and strength to do what I do because it can be physically very demanding, the work that I do."

BEM's also go to David Hartley, a volunteer for the Church Lads' and Church Girls' Brigade for services to young people in Longridge, Lancashire, Rev William Glynne George James - Principal Police Chaplain, South Wales Police for services to police chaplaincy and to the community in Gorseinon, Swansea, and Rev Bernard John Rumbold - Chaplain, Cirencester and Highworth Squadrons, Royal Air Force Air Cadets for voluntary service to Young People.

Christian couple David and Christine Bagley also received MBEs for services to the Bolton community, particularly during Covid-19, for their work feeding people. They helped set up the Christian charity Urban Outreach. 

From a list of 1,239, this article will undoubtedly have missed some recipients from the Christian community. If you are aware of someone missing, please get in touch using the 'contact us' option in the menu.

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