Local men delighted with OBE awards

THERE were celebrations all round this week after locals were applauded in the New Year's Honours list.Outstanding individuals who have worked tirelessly for their communities and excelled in their workplace were recognised in the Queen's honours list, released on Wednesday.

THERE were celebrations all round this week after locals were applauded in the New Year's Honours list.

Outstanding individuals who have worked tirelessly for their communities and excelled in their workplace were recognised in the Queen's honours list, released on Wednesday.

Among them was Les Dawson, of Oulton Village, who was made an OBE for his services to the energy and water industries.

51-year-old Mr Dawson hails from the Whitton estate and attended Alderman Woodrow - the current Kirkley High School. But from here he has gone on to become chief executive of the �4bn company Southern Water, which serves the South East of England.


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Speaking exclusively to The Journal this week, he said he felt 'very humble' to be recognised for the honour.

As former captain of his school and town boy football teams, Mr Dawson played for the county and was a schoolboy with Norwich City. 'I played for Norwich A team at the age of 15 in the Eastern Counties League (now the Ridgeons League) and youth team,' he recalled.

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His working career began at Pye in 1973 where he was a student engineer. At the same time he played for Lowestoft Town in the successful side of the mid 1970s, and fondly recalls scoring the winner in the 1976 league cup final.

'I was sponsored by Pye to attend Brunel University in London and it was here where I completed an engineering degree in 1980,' Mr Dawson said.

After leaving Pye just before its closure to pursue an engineering career in the energy sector, Mr Dawson went onto work in the gas industry for nearly 20 years across the UK, finally being responsible for the UK's distribution network.

There was more progression in the workplace in 2000 when he became a FTSE 100 Director at the age of just 43.

'Here I was managing director of United Utilities, and this meant I managed the assets of water and electricity in the North West,' he said.

As well as this, Mr Dawson has worked tirelessly for charity, in particular Wateraid, and he was also a director of The National Football Museum at Preston.

'My work has taken me all over the world to North and South America, India, Asia and Australia,' he revealed.

Mr Dawson is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Gas, Water and Environmental Management as well as being a chartered Electrical, Gas and Water Engineer.

He is also a keen watcher of local football - with his son Ian impressing in the Kirkley and Pakefield midfield - and is married to Susan, with two children Laura and Ian from his previous marriage.

Jonathan Adnams, executive chairman of Southwold brewers Adnams, also received an OBE for his services to corporate social responsibility.

As a local businessman and chairman of one of Suffolk's best known companies, Mr Adnams, said: 'I am delighted to accept this honour as a public acknowledgement of what Adnams has achieved over the years.

'Wherever possible, our aim is to make long-term decisions that are good for our business, employees, our community and the environment.

'Adnams has been brewing beer in Southwold since 1872 and I firmly believe that our approach to sustainable business and commitment to doing the right thing will keep us here for many years to come.'

Mr Adnams joined the company in 1973 as a brewery engineer apprentice and has since worked in all aspects of the business.

He joined the Adnams board in 1988 running pubs and property then taking on the role of managing director in 1997. He became chairman in August 2006.

Mr Adnams' passion for the East Anglian coast led him to become a member of Southwold's lifeboat crew, where he served 28 years, 15 of those spent as senior helmsman.

Former Lowestoft schoolboy and national leader for school improvement, Professor Timothy Brighouse, received a knighthood in the New Year's honours list.

Having went to school at the old Lowestoft Grammar School - current Denes High School - in the 1950s he went onto read history at Oxford University and then in 1960 trained to become a teacher.

From here, he went onto become the London schools tsar, as he pioneered the London school improvement programme that forms the basis for the current national challenge programme.

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