Redruth charity worker and Penlee lifeboat disaster widow among New Year honour

The owner of Truro's Plaza Cinema, a charity worker from Redruth and a widow from the Penlee lifeboat disaster are among those recognised in the New Year's Honours List.

David Williams, managing director of WTW Cinemas - which includes Truro's Plaza - has been made an MBE, for services to regional cinema.

Mr Williams, 65, has been in the industry since 1966 and became managing director in the 70s. In 1996 he took over the Plaza, which had closed, and after extensive refurbishment reopened it in 1998.

His company also owns the White River Cinema in St Austell, The Regal in Wadebridge and the Lighthouse Cinema in Newquay.

Mr Williams said he was “totally shocked and surprised” at the recognition, adding: “It's not the sort of thing that ever crossed my mind. When it sinks in you realise what a great honour has been bestowed on you and you realise you have got a lot of people to thank.” These included his family and faithful staff.

Lugina Oates, from Redruth, is also to be an MBE, for services to the community in West Cornwall.

The Portreath Parish Council clerk has spent almost three decades working in the community, with roles over the years including secretary and treasurer of the Friends of Truro Samaritans, secretary for the League of Friends of Trengweath Hospital (later Longreach House) and a fundraiser for Macmillan Nurses.

She has been with the West Cornwall Cancer Friendship Group for more than 20 years, was chairman of the governors for Portreath School, worked with New Connections in Camborne looking after homeless people and has been part of Meals on Wheels for more than two decades.

Mrs Oates was “dumbfounded” by the honour and said: “I like to work quietly in the background. It came as a shock, but was a great honour, obviously.”

Finally in this area, American-born Dr Melissa Hardie-Budden has been made an MEB for services to heritage and the arts in West Cornwall.

She helped form the Hypatia Trust that was set up to support and oversee the maintenance, development and protection of the Hypatia Collections first brought together at the Jamieson Library in Newmill, Penzance.

In 1997 Dr Hardie-Budden and her husband Dr Phil Budden donated the majority of their personal collections to the Trust, in the hope they would be used for public benefit.

For the first time in 20 years, British Empire Medals have also been awarded. These have not been handed out since 1992, but were brought back for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Among the recipients of these were 64-year-old Phyllis Madron, volunteer fundraiser for the RNLI Penlee and Penzance, for services to maritime safety.

Mrs Madron, chairman of the Penlee RNLI Ladies Guild, lost her husband Stephen in the Penlee lifeboat disaster in 1981.

She has been involved with the RNLI for 42 years, but in the three decades since the disaster - which saw all hands lost on the Solomon Browne, when it went to the aid of the stricken coaster Union Star - her fundraising efforts have stepped up.

Under her chairmanship the Guild has raised £375,000 since 2000, together with many thousands of pounds at the lifeboat station shop, where Janet regularly commits hours of her time as a volunteer.

Janet said: “I don't fundraise to win awards; I do it for those like the crew of the Penlee lifeboats who put their lives on hold to help others in trouble at sea.”

Also honoured have been Alison Bevan, director of Penlee House at Penzance for services to cultural heritage in Cornwall, 84-year-old RSPCA fundraiser Dorothy Fisher from Camborne for services to animal welfare and the community in Cornwall, and Amanda Kimmins for services to the community of St Agnes.

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