This year's New Year Honours list has been released and we can reveal that several Falmouth and Helston residents have been recognised for their achievements.

One name on this year's list that will be familiar to many is former Falmouth mayor councillor Grenville Chappel, who has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).

The 71-year-old town councillor will receive the honour for his work as chair of the Penwerris Tenant and Residents' Association (PTRA) and his work with the Beacon Community Regeneration Partnership (BCRP).

Councillor Chappel's leadership saw one of the most deprived council estates in Europe turned around to become a shining example of community regeneration.

He said: "I was very shocked when the letter came through the door seven weeks ago. I thought it was something about the election.

"It's something you never ever ever think you'd be on. It's a standing joke every year that you're going to be on it.

"I'm really pleased with it." He added: "I'm feeling very hopeful about the estate. It's come a long way. Compared with 23 years ago when we started, we have got a different type of community. We've got people who work together.

"It's no worse than any other area in Falmouth, and in fact we are better than most."

Rachel Tonkin, 81, will also be awarded a BEM for her services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's (RNLI) Lizard guild.

Falmouth Packet:

Rachel Tonkin from The Lizard has been awarded a British Empire Medal 

Since joining in 1970, Mrs Tonkin has done a great deal of work to raise funds for local lifeboats.

She began her fundraising work by increasing the number of collection boxes in the area, and over the years has helped to raise thousands for the RNLI.

She played a leading role in raising money for the new All-Weather Lifeboat Appeal at the Lizard Lifeboat Station in 2009 - helping to reach the target of £300,000 in less than three years.

Mrs Tonkin raises more than £5,000 for the RNLI every year, which is impressive given the number of people living on the Lizard Peninsula.

On her 80th birthday, she even spent the day serving more than 180 people with tea and toast for four hours at the Lizard Lifeboat Station's Big Breakfast.

Still in shock from hearing the news, Rachel said: "I couldn’t believe it when I read the letter, I’m absolutely over the moon!

"I’ve enjoyed every minute of volunteering for the RNLI, and I feel so overwhelmed at the news of the Honours." 

Another Falmothian, Helen Shanahan, will be awarded a BEM for her work in improving breastfeeding rates in Cornwall.

Helen is a midwife and the Infant Feeding Coordinator at Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Under her leadership, breastfeeding rates in the county went from 46 per cent in 2010 to 53 per cent in 2017 at eight to six weeks.

It is due to her work that Cornwall was the first county in the UK to achieve baby-friendly accreditation.

She is also involved in the Real Baby Milk action group in Falmouth and works unpaid hours to make DVDs, provide support and train others about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Elsewhere in the county, Portscatho's Andrew Day has been chosen to receive an MBE for his work in raising money for charity and volunteering as a coastguard.

Mr Day, the village butcher, provides rare 'starter' jobs for young people in the village and uses his business to pursue charitable causes.

Perranporth's Kim O'Keeffe has been awarded a BEM for her work as director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professions at Royal Cornwall Hospital.

She said: "It is such a thrill to receive this Honour. I am so proud to be a nurse - and especially as part of the great team at RCHT here in Cornwall.

"There are many things I feel proud and privileged to have been able to support and help make happen, such as the transformation of maternity services and the integration of our safeguarding team."