Social worker and head teacher are among those honoured for their service and dedication

AWARD: New Year honour for Richard Morris

AWARD: New Year honour for Richard Morris - Credit: Archant

Courageous leadership and “relentless” dedication to supporting children and families in crisis has led to Richard Morris becoming an MBE in the New Year Honours List.

Mr Morris, from Warboys, was instrumental in establishing a national social work support unit at the Children and Family Courts Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) which gives children a voice in legal proceedings.

In 2013 Mr Morris, now assistant director, transformed a patchy range of localised services with more than 300 staff into an integrated, highly-functioning national team of 100 practitioners.

His award was for services to children in England.

Mr Morris, who grew up locally, said: “I am very exciting but it is very humbling as well.

“It is all about the people in the team who do the work and put the hours in. It is a pity there isn’t a group award. I would stress that the award rightly belongs to all members of my teams inside and outside of work and in particular, for every child we failed to reach - I just so happen to be picking it up for them all.”

Mr Morris, a married father of three, has been a social worker for 20 years after a dozen years of military service which included tours of duty in major trouble spots.

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He said he had always supported people in the military and had been able to use this experience after becoming a social worker.

“Building teams is very important in the military which is still something I do today,” he said. “It is looking for people with the right attitude.”

Mr Morris, who is based in London for Cafcass, said he had been pleased to return to Warboys, having grown up in the area.

In addition to his job with Cafcass, Mr Morris also regularly works unsociable hours as a specialist water practitioner with Spartan Rescue which provides rescue services to the emergency services.

“You always have to have something to do outside your normal daily job. I suppose it is a level of escapism,” he said. “When I was young I was always brought up to think that busy people make time.”

The job involves the recovery of people, often children, from waterways.

“I would hate to see anyone’s parent waiting for the outcome without knowing one way or another what happened to their child or that they could be in the water for a further 24 hours,” he said.

Mr Morris also promotes the importance of water safety, delivers flood and water safety training to the emergency services and is a former chairman of the governors at Needingworth primary school.

There was also an honour for the head teacher of Huntingdon’s Spring Common Academy. Dr Kim Taylor was made an OBE in recognition of her services to education.