The Diocese of Derry and Raphoe offers warmest congratulations to four of its finest parish stalwarts who have been awarded MBEs by His Majesty the King in the 2023 New Year Honours list. 

Mr William Oliver – one of the Diocese’s five Honorary Secretaries and an active member of the Castlerock and Dunboe church family – was recognised for “services to education, to business and to charities in County Londonderry”. William’s service to his local churches on the north coast, and to the wider diocese, and indeed to the Church of Ireland centrally, is appreciated greatly. He is a Deputy Lieutenant for County Londonderry.

Mrs Heather Pratt, who is a Parochial Nominator in the Parish of Tamlaghtfinlagan (Ballykelly), was honoured for her “services to education”. Mrs Pratt is chair of the board of governors of Rossmar Special School, in Limavady. The Rector of Tamlaghtfinlagan, Rev Canon Harold Given, was among the many people in the parish to extend congratulations to Heather in person and online.

Distinguished academic, Professor Anne Heaslett – lately Principal, Stranmillis University College, Queen’s University Belfast – also received an M.B.E. for “services to education”. Dr Heaslett – is a parish reader in St. Canice’s Church, Balteagh. In 2017 she had a history of the parish published, The Spirit of Balteagh.

Mr Samuel Godfrey Young, who serves on both the Select Vestry and in the choir of St Columba’s Church in Omagh, was awarded an M.B.E. for “services to social work and to education”. Godfrey has worked in many voluntary capacities, to improve services and outcomes for young people across the west and further afield. He has made a significant contribution to Safeguarding at parish and diocesan level.