Intrepid teacher given top honour by The Queen

Dorset Echo: HONOURED: John Hegarty MBE HONOURED: John Hegarty MBE

A TEACHER who has inspired hundreds of young adventurers has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list today.

John Hegarty, vice principal of Budmouth College in Weymouth, is a founder member of the Dorset Expeditionary Society and a veteran globetrotter leading groups of young people to remote parts of the world.

Mr Hegarty, of Portland, is a vastly experienced leader and award-winning teacher who as well as giving up his weekends organising outdoor activities, has led groups climbing volcanoes, trekking though jungles and tackling piranha-infested rivers. He also launched the Combine Cadet Force at Budmouth and leads the contingent.

Mr Hegarty receives an MBE for services to education and outdoor learning.

Other recipients include Kimmeridge fossil expert Steve Etches who receives an MBE for services to palaeontology after amassing and curating an important collection of more than 2,000 specimens from the Jurassic Coast over the past 30 years.

Testament to his skill and dedication, which has already seen him twice awarded the Amateur Palaeontologist Award, is a new multi-million pound centre being developed in Kimmeridge to house the fossils, and a new workshop for Steve where visitors will be able to see him at work conserving and preparing new specimens.

He has been described as a ‘national treasure’ by Professor Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary paleobiology at University of Cambridge.

Lyme Regis boat builder Gail McGarva of Lyme Regis is awarded a British Empire Medal.

Gail, 48, was a qualified sign language interpreter, but living on a boat in Bristol changed her life.

Despite her lack of woodworking experience she started repairing her houseboat before a journey to the Thames and discovered a passion for boats.

In 2004, with help from the City & Guilds bursary, she enrolled on a level three boat building, maintenance and support qualification at the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis, completing her course in 2005.

Her award recognises her services to Heritage Crafts and Clinker Boat Building.

She said: “A huge thank you must go to the Heritage Crafts Association for nominating me and for their determined efforts to give focus to the traditional crafts of Britain.

“I hope this award will shine a light on the craft of traditional wooden boat building, helping give vibrancy to the life of this craft for future generations.”

  • Other recipients include RNLI principal Naval Engineer Dr Holly Phillips from Swanage who gets an MBE for services to maritime safety and the community.

Chris Rose, who worked as a Retained Station Commander for Gillingham Fire Station for 40 years, is awarded an MBE for services to the community.

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