Two Dacorum residents named in Queen's Birthday Honours for their efforts during the pandemic

Both have been recognised for their efforts at the start of the coronavirus pandemic

Friday, 9th October 2020, 10:30 pm

A woman from Berkhamsted and a man from Chipperfield have been awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for the work they did during lockdown.

The list, which was due to be published in June, was postponed in order to consider nominations for people playing crucial roles during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two people that have been acknowledged for their efforts during lockdown are Elizabeth Stileman, 48, from Berkhamsted, and Christopher Luff, 56, from Chipperfield.

Elizabeth in the Bahamas last year following Hurricane Dorian

Elizabeth, who works as a strategic liaison officer volunteering for charity RE:act, was awarded an MBE for services to incident response and charitable service during Covid-19.

She has been giving her time and effort seven days a week at the UK Strategic Joint Command HQ in Aldershot, since March 22, providing a critical link between the Military response to Covid-19 and the veteran’s charity, RE:ACT.

She saw how RE:ACT could be involved in building and supporting the Nightingale hospitals, providing over 400,000 meals to NHS ICU staff.

They have also been successful in providing mortuary staff and body handlers, porters, community food banks, personal protective equipment and testing distribution.

Chris

Over the last four years, she has made an impressive contribution supporting the international disaster response where she has been a mainstay and has been first on the ground after the hurricanes in the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.

She said: "It feels amazing to be honoured with an MBE but it's not just me, there were many people who were helping. I wasn't expecting this at all.

"I was in the army for 20 years, and the charity I work with put me as a liaison officer for the military, I could talk the same language as the military, which really helped.

"I was doing long days and it was tough at first, some of the things we spoke about were quite gruesome.

"Everyone worked as a team, and although it was just me in the office, I felt very supported by the military, the charity and the other volunteers.

"We had regular Zoom meetings and everyone was continually keeping in touch with everyone else.

"RE:ACT relies totally on donations to allow people like me to go out and help, to support their work visit: www.re-act.org.uk."

An MBE most commonly refers to Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a grade within the British order of chivalry.

Christopher, CEO of Watford and West Herts Chamber of Commerce, was awarded an MBE for services to the community in Watford during Covid-19.

He has been voluntarily assisting local NHS trusts and local charities for some time so, when the COVID crisis began, he used his numerous contacts and exceptional track record in charitable work to take a lead role in numerous important initiatives.

Supporting the West Herts NHS Trust, working primarily at Watford General Hospital, he personally served hundreds of NHS staff coming off night shift with a daily breakfast and 800 cakes and buns for the hospital morning shift.

He encouraged Watford FC to allow their stadium to be used for storing and preparing meals and other aid for charities. He also set up an extensive network of volunteer drivers, including himself, who are still delivering to vulnerable people and charities around Hertfordshire.

Together with another local charity he arranged for The Grove hotel to prepare hot meals for over 70 vulnerable residents and personally delivered them for over eight weeks.

He has long been a champion of numerous charitable works including Watford Wellness (mental health) and the Peace Hospice for which he has raised thousands of pounds in different ways.

He said: "I'm humbled, it's wonderful to be honoured in this way, although slightly embarrassing as there were many other people who were helping out as well. It's nice though, and my mum will be happy.

"It was great to be able to help out in some way, the one positive thing that we can take away from this is that we should all work together and help each other out more."