The best of Bath in Queen's birthday honours list
One of Bath’s best-known businessmen has been honoured by the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year.
The OBE for Wessex Water chairman and chief executive Colin Skellett comes in a birthday honours list that also sees recognition for cookery expert Mary Berry and University of Bath-based athletics coach Malcolm Arnold.
Mr Skellett, who also chairs the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, receives the OBE for services to business and to the charity WaterAid.
The businessman, who has been instrumental in establishing partnership organisations such as Bath Tourism Plus and the city centre management body Future Bath Plus said he was proud of getting the business community and local authorities together for the common good.
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“I really feel strongly that businesses should engage in these things, and not stand back and say ‘that’s the council’s job.’
“We are so much stronger together.”
He said of the OBE: “It’s one of those highlights that only come along once in your life.”
Mrs Berry, who has been made a CBE and who grew up in Bath, is one of the UK’s best-known and well-respected cookery writers.
Her role as a judge on the hit show The Great British Bake Off has won her a new generation of fans more than 40 years after she published her first recipe book.
She has written more than 70 cookery books since then, selling millions of copies, as well as appearing on dozens of television and radio shows.
The Great British Bake Off, where she co-stars with fellow judge Paul Hollywood, sees her train her expert eye on a succession of sponges and offer her particular brand of firm but friendly advice to the amateur contestants.
Trained at the Bath College of Home Economics, her early jobs included teaching people how to use electric cookers and a stint as a cookery demonstrator for the Dutch Dairy Bureau.
She went on to qualify from the Cordon Bleu school in Paris and now runs her own company, making salad dressings and sauces, with her daughter.
There is an MBE for services to music and the arts for Joanna Wiesner, who is secretary of the Bath Minerva Choir, a former administrator of the Bath Philharmonic, involved in the South West Festival Chorus and a steward at the Mid-Somerset Festival for 22 years. She also administers the city’s Anti-Clash Diary, a system which aims to prevent concert organisers picking the same date for events.
Mrs Wiesner, who trained as an opera singer but worked for a motor industry consultancy, said: “I am the sort of person who jumps in with both feet. I’ve got a fatal habit of volunteering.”
Mr Arnold, who has been given an OBE, has worked for UK Athletics and its predecessors since 1974, and is its national event coach for hurdles. He has been responsible for coaching athletes to more than 65 major medals over a 44-year coaching career.
Other MBE winners are Connie Wright, a governor and patient representative at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, for voluntary services to health care, and Yvonne Orengo of Newton St Loe for services to the Andrew Lees Trust, which runs social and environmental projects in Madagascar.
There is also an OBE for city philanthropist Andrew Fletcher.
Mr Fletcher, who lives in the city centre, moved to Bath in 1967 when he came to teach history, politics and music at what was then the City of Bath Boys' School, now Beechen Cliff.
When his mother died, he set up the Joyce Fletcher Charitable Trust in her name, giving grants to local organisations and on occasions individuals.
After taking early retirement, Mr Fletcher became involved in fund-raising and charity work, serving on a number of committees, often as secretary.
He has just stepped down from the local English-Speaking Union branch where he had been chairman and later vice-chairman, and is still a member of the board of Iford Arts.
Major personal gifts over the years have included donations to Bath Abbey towards a new organ and its music education programme, as well as to the Bath Preservation Trust, the Holburne Museum, the Theatre Royal and the egg theatre, Mentoring Plus, Bath Area Play Project, Three Ways School, the Royal United Hospital’s arts fund, the National Trust and the Mission Theatre.
Money has also gone further afield, to Wells Cathedral School and the Friends of Music at that school to help fund overseas concert tours.