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Brunel staff and alumni honoured at Buckingham Palace

Christine C and Andrew

Brunel Deputy Vice-Chancellor Andrew George, the University’s former Director of Occupational Therapy Christine Craik, and several former students attended Buckingham Palace on Friday 17 February to be formally honoured by members of the Royal Family.

Professor George received an MBE for his services to NHS research participants, while Christine Craik was awarded an OBE for forging the profession’s future in mental health care.

Christine ran Brunel’s Occupational Therapy department from 1995 until 2009, inspiring many occupational therapists to gain post graduate qualifications.

Alumna and gold medal-winning Olympic hockey captain Kate Richardson-Walsh attended the February ceremony with her wife and hockey teammate Helen to collect an OBE, having both been named MBE in 2014. Brunel alumnus and Senior Fellow in Sports Coaching at the University of Winchester Richard Cheetham collected an MBE for his services to sports and education.

Other former students to be recognised in the last round of the Queen’s New Year Honours include Dr Carole Easton, Chief Executive of Young Women's Trust, who received an OBE, gold medal- winning Paralympic rower James Fox (MBE) and Clare Eluka, Premae Skincare founder, who took a BEM for services to dermatology.

After the ceremony, Professor Andrew George said: “It was a great honour to go with my family to Buckingham Palace to receive the MBE from Prince Charles. The day was superbly organised, with the staff taking care and making all the recipients and their guests feel welcome and special.

“There was quite a lot of waiting around in the picture gallery that gave an opportunity to meet with all the others who were receiving honours on that day – a really interesting and diverse group of people who had made contributions in all sorts of ways to society. With Christine and Kate Richardson-Walsh also receiving their OBEs it was a very special day for Brunel.”

Speaking in December when the honours were announced, Vice-Chancellor and President of Brunel University London, Professor Julia Buckingham, said: “This is testament to Andrew’s dedication to ensuring research is ethically sound, which is incredibly important. I’m delighted Andrew has the recognition he so clearly deserves.”

Professor Priscilla Harries, Head of Department for Clinical Sciences at Brunel University London, also said: “I am absolutely delighted for Christine. Christine encouraged many occupational therapists to undertake further study at Masters and Doctoral levels. As a result, Brunel is now a leading university for occupational therapy worldwide.”