Our alumni recognised in Queen’s New Year Honours

Alumni from our University have been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen in the New Year honours.

Helen Louise Clarke, who graduated from a Business Studies degree at the University in 1992, has been awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to girl guiding.

As one of the youngest ever members to receive the Girl Guiding Laurel for Exceptional Service in 2015, Helen has inspired many, particularly in international guiding, working with over 5,000 girls both at home and abroad.

Helen’s determination to give girls an equal opportunity has seen her play a vital role in reintroducing guiding in Western Siberia, where her expert knowledge, impressive fundraising activities, development of bespoke training material and subsequent regular exchange visits of girl guides between Russia and the UK have ensured that guiding is now firmly embedded in that region.

She has served as a Unit Leader and County International Advisor and Chair of Guiding Development, including organising leader training and supporting volunteers in achieving leadership qualifications. In addition, Helen has acted as Musical Director for Big County Productions, bringing music to life for citizens and guides. Her legacy over the last five years has been a series of carol concerts at York Minster attended by over 2,000 people.

Stefanie Katherine Stead, a former architecture student and now Regional Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Construction Industry Council and Principal and Director of Stead & Co, has been awarded an MBE for services to Architecture and the Construction Industry.

Stefanie, who is a chartered architect from Leeds and has worked across Yorkshire on a range of urban design, heritage, residential, retail and educational schemes, is a Regional Design Review Panellist for Yorkshire and Humber. She has had a fundamental role on various judging panels over five years for the York Design Awards.

Stefanie’s belief is that it is crucial to involve those who will benefit from the process, in the process and that by working with local communities, charities and schools, designs become relevant and long term. She has extensive experience of facilitating consultation and design workshops with a range of participants, ranging from elected members of Local Authorities through to school children.

Working directly with over 30 schools to deliver capital building projects, funding assistance and creative learning programmes, Stefanie was a volunteer architect with the National Trust from 2008 to 2012. She has also volunteered her time as Regional Chair for Yorkshire and the Humber on the Construction Industry Council, and has a seat on the RIBA Yorkshire Council. She has been the Secretary for Newton-on-Ouse Parish Hall for over four years.

Param Singh, who graduated with a MEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Sheffield in 2001, received an MBE for voluntary service to Minority Communities after 17 years of working to develop inter-faith relations between Sikhs and non-Sikhs in modern Britain.

In 2010, Param founded City Sikhs with a group of friends as a national network of progressive Sikhs. It now has 7,000 members and provides a voice for British Sikhs wanting to create positive change in society.

His community work has been completely voluntary and includes working with charities, city corporations, faith and inter-faith groups as well as Government departments.

Michael Palin CBE, comedian, actor, writer and television presenter, was knighted for his services to travel, culture and geography. Michael, who is originally from Sheffield, received an honorary degree from the University in 1992.

Other University of Sheffield alumni who were recipients included:

  • Anne Obey (BA English Literature, 1983), Director of Financial Reporting at Nationwide Building Society, who received an OBE for services to financial reporting and sustainable energy.
  • Anne-Louise Ferguson (LLB Law, 1977), Director, Shared Services Partnership Legal and Risk Services at NHS Wales, who received an MBE for services to NHS Wales.
  • Margaret Ann Kitching (MMed Sci Nursing Practice, 2002), Chief Nurse in the north region for NHS England, who received an MBE for services to nursing.
  • Susan Margaret Whipps (PhD Pathology, 1980), who received an MBE for voluntary services to people affected by Parkinson's Disease.

Professor Koen Lamberts, President and Vice-Chancellor, said: "I am delighted that alumni from the University of Sheffield have received much deserved recognition for their longstanding commitment to their respective fields. Recipients of the Queen's New Year Honours are an inspiration to us all and I’m proud of the role members of our University community have played in fields like girl guiding and architecture, with their important contributions making a real difference to the world we live in.”

Find out more about our alumni