Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

You're Honoured; Gongs Delight for Our Heroes

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

You're Honoured; Gongs Delight for Our Heroes

Article excerpt

Byline: By MIKE MORGAN

A GLOBE-TROTTING Teesside grandad and an inspirational playgroup manager have both been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

John Hassan, 78, of Guisborough, was the proud recipient of an OBE for voluntary services to young people in Cleveland, via the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

The pensioner worked with Redcar Youth Club as part-time youth leader for nine years and is well-known in the area for his mountaineering expeditions and charity fundraising.

Modest John says he shares the honour with his wife Edna, also 78, who has supported him loyally.

"My wife spent a lot of time on her own while I was away on expeditions and she should have the medal, not me," he said.

John, whose work with young people in the area also included a stint with the Cleveland County Army Cadet Force, started working with the Duke of Edinburgh scheme in 1964.

He feels "tremendous" about his decoration by the Queen, but believes his greatest achievement comes from supporting young people.

"I have great faith in the Duke of Edinburgh Award, it's so character building."

Returning to the North-east in 1968, he joined the Langbaurgh Duke of Edinburgh Awards committee and began working with the Army Cadet Force. He also worked as a careers officer in Cleveland for 20 years.

At the age of 72, the super-fit grandad-of-four climbed the lower reaches of Everest for the British Heart Foundation. A year later, he tackled the Peruvian Andes for Cancer Research UK.

He's now looking forward to meeting the Queen with Edna and their son, Paul, 43, and daughter, Pam, 41.

Inspirational Andrea Craig shares her life with lots of children. She felt "humble and emotional" when she heard she had been awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for service to children and families.

The modest manager of Redcar's Sunny Days playgroup pays tribute to staff, parents and the "fantastic children" for helping the playgroup succeed so well.

Sunny Days began 32 years ago and Andrea, 61, has been involved from the start.

Formerly the Redcar Youth and Community Centre Playgroup, named after its base for the first 29 years, the group changed its name to mark a 2006 switch to Redcar Community College. …

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