Bromley gains a Knight in New Year's Honours
PUBLISHED: 11:05 06 January 2011
A leading professor of psychiatric research has topped the list of people from the borough recognised by the Queen in the New Year's Honours list.
Professor Robin Murray, from Beckenham, received a Knighthood for services to medicine on the honours list released on the eve of 2011 that included college principal Ali Hadawi, from Shortlands, awarded a CBE for services to vocational education in Iraq.
The award came as a complete surprise to Professor Murray, who carries out research into the link between cannabis use and schizophrenia at the Institute at Psychiatry at Kings College, and is an honorary consultant at the Bethlem Royal Hospital.
Prof Murray, 66, said: “Of course I am absolutely delighted. It came as a big surprise and I am very pleased. At first I thought it wasn’t real - but of course it is. I really hope that this raises the profile of the kind of work that I do.”
The news came at the end of a remarkable year for the academic, who was one of a select few scientists to be elected to the historic Royal Society in May.
“For a scientist, the Royal Society is the highest recognition, but there are different kind of honours.
“The average person in Marks and Spencer doesn’t know what the Royal Society is but most people know that Alex Ferguson is Sir Alex.”
Professor Shitij Kapur, Dean and Head of School IoP at King’s, said: “Sir Robin’s achievements in psychiatry are already most widely recognised around the world by researchers, clinicians and students alike. It is only fitting that this wide acclaim now be recognised at home, it is an honour for him, and for all of us at the IoP and King’s.
In Bromley the former director of the Green Alliance, Stephen Hale, from West Wickham, who now heads up the Geneva office of Oxfam, received an OBE for services to the environment.
Peter Unwin, from Chislehurst was awarded an Order of the Bath CE, and Bromley-based Deborah Neal, became MBE. Both work for the Government. Andrew Andreou, from the Department of Business and Skills got an MBE and Ministry of Defence worker Leslie Tippin, from Orpington received an OBE.
Also receiving a CBE is Iraqi born academic Ali Hadawi, from Shortlands, who is the new principal of Central Bedfordshire College. Mr Hadawi who became a Commander of the British Empire for services to vocational education in Iraq.
After moving to Britain aged 19 to study he has devoted his life to promoting community cohesion in the country, and in 2004 helped to found the Rawabit group, which aims to develop vocational education in Iraq with links to the UK.
He said: “The list came out, I stayed up until 1am to check the website.I am absolutely delighted.”
He added: “From that night I have had calls from the UK and from Iraq which is just amazing. That people there understand the British honours system is brilliant.
“On a personal level to get the recognition and see that we’re making a difference makes me want to do even more. It sends a signal in Iraq and raises the profile of education in the UK, it shows people in Iraq that Britain goes beyond just being a military force.