Honours go to dads’ champion and health boss

Roger Olley from Monkseaton who has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours.
Roger Olley from Monkseaton who has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours.

TWO health officials have had years of service recognised in the Queen’s latest birthday honours list.

Roger Olley and Mary Coyle were both made MBEs (members of the British Empire) in the list announced at the weekend.

Roger was rewarded for his services to families, and Mary received the accolade for the leadership she has shown in helping shape health services.

For over a decade, Roger has helped ensure that fathers don’t feel left out ahead of and after the birth of their children.

He helped set up the Fathers Plus service for the charity Children North East in 2000, working there until his retirement last year, and still plays an active role in it.

Under Roger’s leadership, the Fathers Plus service has become the leading UK authority on involving fathers and male carers in family services.

The 58-year-old has also contributed to the development of national policies and strategies for including fathers in their children’s upbringing.

Roger, now a sector specialist in parenting and male inclusion, said: “They told me about the MBE two weeks ago. I found it very difficult to keep it quiet.

“I view this honour as a result of the sensational team I worked with over the years. This wouldn’t have happened without them.

“Over the last ten years, I’ve worked at many levels helping fathers. I helped the government put together good practice guidelines on including fathers in school settings.”

Roger, of Thorntree Close, West Monkseaton, said his wife Dee and daughter Siobhan have already started discussing potential outfits to wear at Buckingham Palace.

He said: “My family and friends are delighted by this honour. I’m excited about going down to London.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to go into the House of Lords. That was astonishing, but I think Buckingham Palace is going to leave that standing.”

Mary, a freelance leadership consultant, was appointed chairman of North Tyneside Primary Care Trust in 2009.

The 62-year-old, of North Shields, has worked for and led a number of charities and organisations since moving to the north east from Northern Ireland 37 years ago.

Mary said: “I’m thrilled to be receiving an honour for work that I have thoroughly enjoyed.

“I feel so privileged to have worked with so many people who have been committed to improving the lives of others.

“Most recently, as chairman of North Tyneside Primary Care Trust, I have seen many staff dedicated to improving health and healthcare and have been delighted to have a direct input into making sure that everyone gets the best possible opportunity to live the healthiest and most productive life possible.”

Chris Reed, chief executive of NHS North of Tyne, said: “We’re very pleased Mary has been awarded the MBE. It is a well-deserved honour.

“She has put her heart and soul into helping a very wide range of communities across the north east and has brought a wealth of experience to our organisation.”

Roger and Mary were joined by a wealth of famous faces on the latest honours list, including actor Colin Firth, singer Bryan Ferry, TV presenter Bruce Forsyth and cricketer Andrew Strauss.