FIVE people from Herefordshire have been rewarded for their hard work by being named in the 2024 New Year Honours list.

Ellie Somme, who founded a charity that sends teddy bears to vulnerable children across the world, has been named an MBE.

The 71-year-old, who is from Eardisley, set up the Teddy Trust in 2012. 

Since then, she has sent more than 120,000 teddies to children in more than 15 countries, including Ukraine, Malawi and Mongolia.


In 2016, she was presented with a Points of Light award from then Prime Minister David Cameron which recognises outstanding individual volunteers.

"Every year we collect and send thousands of teddy bears to children who have suffered the horrors of war, sexual abuse or hunger and poverty," said Ms Somme, who is honoured for services to vulnerable children.

Hereford Times: A shipment from the Teddy Trust arrives in South AfricaA shipment from the Teddy Trust arrives in South Africa

"The teddy bears are not toys. They are sent with love and compassion from children in the UK who have understood what we do and have sent us their precious teddy bears. We believe that every teddy bear, given with love, can bring a little healing into very bleak lives."

Also receiving an MBE is Philip Chandler for services to the community in Herefordshire.

Steven Williams was the third person from Hereford to be honoured with an MBE. He received the honour for services to local communities in Uganda, after he built a centre to help disabled children and their families there. 

Mr Williams' brother Daniel told the Hereford Times: "Steven has been a beacon of hope and change. 

"In 2002, a trip across Uganda turned into a life-defining moment when he fell in love with the country's beauty and spirit. 

"Driven by passion, he is improving the lives of families, championing their rights and needs in a region where resources are scarce."

Meanwhile, three three people in Hereford have received a British Empire Medal (BEM). They are Lyndsey Evans (for services to the community in South Wye); Rosemary Webb (for services to the community in Ross-on-Wye); and Louise Wright (for services to business and to the community in Hereford). 

Mrs Evans retired from Belmont Community Centre (South Wye Community Association) in May.

She held various positions within the association, including chairperson, events co-ordinator, trustee and volunteer. In 2016, she won Herefordshire Woman of the Year and her desire to help her community was endless.

Mrs Wright, who lives in Dorstone, runs Woodee Limited along with her husband Andrew. The couple works with local craftspeople and makers to design and make a range of fire pits, tools and accessories which are sold nationally.

"I have always striven to support local makers including a blacksmith, leatherworker, glass blower, seamstress, metal worker, basket maker, wood turner and beekeeper," she said.

"We teach people to cook over fire in our Woodee Experience Days, during which we use local fuel from Certainly Wood and Birchwood Forestry and locally grown ingredients from Herefordshire producers and butchers." 

Mrs Webb, a bookkeeper who lives in Marstow, has been a governor at Goodrich Primary School since 2010 and is currently the Chair. For nearly 20 years she was the voluntary administrator of the Goodrich School Meals Association, an independent small business feeding up to 100 of the schools’ pupils every day.

She has been heavily involved with the Monmouthshire Show Society Ltd since moving to the area from Leicestershire in 1976 and now manages the running of the Monmouthshire Showground and the accounts for the Society.

An animal lover, she has owned and cared for many horses since purchasing her first pony at the age of 17 including five World Horse Welfare rescue horses.

"I'm very pleased and like to think that my late parents would have been proud of me and that I’ve done everything in my life to the best of my ability. School leaders and staff have challenging and stressful lives, so I'm delighted to be able to accept this honour on behalf of everyone in our school," she said.

Nationally, Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis and best-selling writer Jilly Cooper have been honoured by receiving a knighthood and damehood respectively. 

Tim Martin, founder of pub chain JD Wetherspoon also becomes a Knight, while actress Emilia Clarke is named an MBE, alongside England Lioness goalkeeper Mary Earps. The latter's teammate, Millie Bright, meanwhile, becomes an OBE, as does singer Leona Lewis.