A WORLD-leading academic, former Whitchurch councillor and organiser of a literary festival celebrating a famous illustrator has been given an honour by King Charles III.

Professor Norma Raynes was officially awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) as part of His Majesty’s birthday honours for June 17.

Professor Raynes says she is still in shock about receiving the award for her work in academia with children and older people.

“I found out about a month ago,” she said.

“My initial reaction was to be totally astonished and overwhelmed and I burst into tears if you want to know.

“I’ve just never expected anything like this.”

Professor Raynes has worked in creating better opportunities and services for children and young people through her academic work.


She has put their views at the centre of her work, including the assessment of care needs, among other issues.

She was also a Whitchurch town councillor last decade, throwing herself into the work while also remaining academically active.

Professor Raynes also brought the Randolph Caldecott Festival to the town, overriding the many challenges raised by the Covid-19 pandemic.

And she thanked all those who have helped her along the way to this ‘great honour’.

She said: “I’ve used as much of my academic life as I could to make practical ideas – it’s the practice part I’m most proud of, in helping older people become part of life again.

“And with sharing it kids, and also proud of the work I did in Whitchurch around the Caldecott Festival.

“And I’m really proud of all the people I’ve met and have helped me along the way because that’s really important.

“You don’t get to do things like this unless you’ve got lots of other people who are actively engaged and working towards the same objectives as you.

“My academic work was about quality of service for children and how you could measure that, and then I moved into the work with older people doing the same kind of thing.

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“It’s an award for people who have benefitted from my work both locally and across the UK.

“I hope to celebrate and hope others will too – it’s wonderful.

“I’m going to wash my hair and see what we can find in the local supermarket to celebrate with.”