What an honour!
PERCUSSIONIST and jewellery designer Evelyn Glennie has been made a Dame in The Queen s New Year Honours for services to music. RAF officer Mark Williams, from Stukeley Meadows was made an OBE in the military division of the list. And St Ives Ranger Guide
PERCUSSIONIST and jewellery designer Evelyn Glennie has been made a Dame in The Queen's New Year Honours for services to music.
RAF officer Mark Williams, from Stukeley Meadows was made an OBE in the military division of the list. And St Ives Ranger Guide leader Judith Evans, who lives in Needingworth, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for her work with young people.
The new Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, whose award was for services to music, said her greatest joy was the recognition that percussionism was now recognised as a serious career for a professional musician.
Dame Evelyn, 40, who lives in north Huntingdonshire and has a huge collection of percussion instruments, said: "What has been achieved is that it is now possible for any person to be able to say 'I would like to be a percussionist'. The career did not exist before. It does now.
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"There's a certain amount of pleasure that comes from getting any kind of recognition, but you must not be fazed by it," she told The Hunts Post. "It has definitely given me the necessary determination to keep going and make a difference."
She added: "There is much I still aspire to achieve and this gives me the impetus to continue to try to make
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a difference on a global scale throughout my many fields of interest and activity."
Her hectic concert schedule resumes shortly in Germany, followed by a month in the US, where she spends four months of most years, before playing in Australia. In Turkish concerts in March she will also play her beloved Highland bagpipes, as well as two new percussion concertos. Norway, Italy, Japan, the Isle of Wight and Austria follow.
Dame Evelyn says she is excited about a planned concert later in the year at the Royal Albert Hall at which she and oboist Nicholas Daniel will play the world premiere of the only concerto for oboe and percussion, composed by fellow Scot Thea Musgrave.
"We are in and out of Huntingdonshire, where there are all sorts of things to deal with." Near the top of that list is a new venture near Sawtry, where she wants to display her collection of more than 1,800 musical instruments, a massive array of percussion scores and no longer available recordings.
"We have bought the land, and we shall be looking around to decide what sort of centre the region would benefit from," she explained.
Dame Evelyn, who also teaches privately and is determined to see the arts moved up schools' agendas, is a keen motorcyclist.
Born in Aberdeen, she began losing her hearing as a youngster after having gained top marks in the country in her grade one piano exam. It was through the support of her schoolteacher and music teacher that she developed her musicianship as a percussion player, famously performing barefoot so that she can hear the vibrations of the instruments through the floor.
She lived in London for some years before settling in Huntingdonshire around 15 years ago.
Wing Commander Williams OBE, 47, who has lived at Stukeley Meadows in Huntingdon since 1994, was rewarded for his work while serving at RAF Marham in Norfolk, where he was officer commanding administration. He was also involved in a great deal of fundraising and charity work for RAF charities, the East Anglian Air Ambulance and Children's Hospices.
He lives with his partner Deb - they have six children between them, aged from 16 to 23 - and works at the Ministry of Defence in London. He co-drives in the British Off-Road Cham-pionships, in which he won his class in 2005.
Judith Evans's MBE was part of a triple celebration for the Needingworth couple. Her husband, Christopher - in his spare time an amateur beekeeper - retired from the police force yesterday (Tuesday) and learned that his Open University degree had been upgraded to honours classification.
The couple met when they were both police officers at Parkside Police Station in Cambridge - "his cloak was great for hiding the fish and chips under," she told The Hunts Post. They moved to Needingworth 23 years ago.
Mrs Evans, 52, has been involved with youth work for 30 years, since being persuaded by a friend to teach ballroom and Latin dancing to teenagers at a St Ives youth club. She has given motorcycling instruction to young people in St Neots and is a qualified examiner for part one of the motorcycle test.
She has taught at Holywell Primary School and ran guides in the village for 14 years. For the past six years she has been involved with 14-25-year-old St Ives Ranger Guides, has qualified as a lifeguard and also offers archery instruction at Ripton Lodge in Abbots Ripton.
She has also helped with swimming lessons for pupils at St Ivo School and helped with cycling proficiency lessons at the primary school.
Before the village was bypassed she also stepped in as lollipop lady for Needingworth High Street.
Mrs Evans sings in the choir at St John the Baptist Church, Holywell, where she also helps to run the Needingworth Nutters youth group.
The Evanses have two daughters, aged 23 and 25 and live at Wyton-on-the-Hill.