Medicinal plants expert and gay rights campaigner among Richmond's New Year's Honours

This Is Local London: Liz Grant, a former deputy chairwoman of gay rights group Stonewall, was given an OBE Liz Grant, a former deputy chairwoman of gay rights group Stonewall, was given an OBE

An expert on medicinal plants, a job centre boss, and a gay rights campaigner are among Richmond's New Year's Honours.

Santosh Fenwick, a senior executive officer at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was awarded an MBE for her services to jobseekers in West London.

Mrs Fenwick said: “I was completely stunned and it was unexpected but a huge honour. It was a complete surprise, I can’t believe it. I am overwhelmed.”

Mrs Fenwick, who has worked at DWP for over 20 years, was nominated by her line manager Liz Cierbieg after managing a number of job centres and relocating several times after a job centre burnt down.

Mrs Fenwick said: “I love my job. I have been so lucky doing the job I do and the teams I have worked with. We change lives, helping someone into work whether it’s through training or advising. And to see the smile on people’s faces when they come and tell you they have got a job it’s just amazing. I love the fact that we can help people during really challenging times.”

Liz Grant, who was deputy chairwoman of the board of trustees at Stonewall, was awarded an OBE for her services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender equality in the workplace.

Ms Grant, who lives in Twickenham, said: “I wasn’t expecting it – that made it all the more special. It was a big surprise and I am absolutely thrilled.

"It is about helping employers understand what is needed to make their workplaces inclusive because when you do that you make the most out of your employees.”

Christine Leon, head of Chinese medicinal plants at Kew Gardens was awarded an MBE for her services to the UK and China's science relationship.

In 2005 she was awarded a visiting professorship at IMPLAD, the Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, in Beijing.

Elaine Griffiths, a music teacher at Stanley Primary School in Teddington was awarded an MBE for her services to education.

Richmond scientist William Cambridge, at the Communications and Integrated Systems at Ultra Electronics, was awarded an MBE for his services to the defence industry.

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