Transport boss and charity founder among this year's Queen's Honours
A vintage car racer who shares his birthday with Her Majesty, and a charity co-founder who dedicates her award to a late friend, have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.
David Furnell, who founded Furnell Transport in 1967, was ‘gobsmacked’ to hear he had been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to charities and the community in Hemel Hempstead.
The 68-year-old, who races vintage cars in his spare time, enjoyed a tongue-in-cheek ‘official birthday’ with family at the weekend. He said his racing friends have teased him that he will need a bigger crash helmet to cope with his ‘bigger head’.
“I’ve been an annoyance to people in the town for long enough,” joked Mr Furnell, who lives with wife Melanie in Berkhamsted.
“But I’ve really been overwhelmed by the response from family, friends and colleagues – the reaction has been absolutely superb.”
Mr Furnell, who was given the Freedom of Dacorum in 2013, has worked as a trustee of The Dacorum Community Trust and a governor of Woodfield School. He has been a key figure for Berkhamsted Rotary, Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, and a member of The Round Table.
Sheila Meaning, co-founder and trustee of New Hope, also received a British Empire Medal for services to homeless people in Watford.
Mrs Meaning, who lives in Hemel Hempstead, remains a trustee and has volunteered at the Haven Support Centre for the last 25 years.
The 78-year-old was ‘completely shocked’ to hear about her award and dedicates it to the woman she co-founded the charity with in 1990, before she passed away in 2008.
“I’m only sad that I don’t get to share this award with my very good friend, Janet Hosier. She deserves this award as much as I do.
“Now I’ve had time for is to sink in, I’m delighted to receive this award and very humbled by it. I also see it as a great advert for the incredible work that continues at New Hope.”
Matthew Heasman, New Hope’s CEO, said: “Sheila is such an inspiration. For over 25 years, she has worked tirelessly to serve the people in our town who most would ignore or even avoid – those who are homeless. She is such an amazing woman and truly deserving of this award.”
Frances Button, chairman of Herts County Council, said: “We extend our warmest congratulations to all those who have been honoured.
“This is a richly-deserved recognition of their long and distinguished service to Hertfordshire.
“We value the contribution our residents make to their communities, often in their own time, and it’s wonderful to see their contribution recognised and celebrated.”