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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 31 December, 2002, 13:01 GMT
Former Civil Service head is Knighted
Medals
The medals will be presented by the Queen
The former head of Northern Ireland's Civil Service has been awarded a Knighthood in the New Year Honours.

Gerry Loughran, who was the first Catholic to head the service in the province, retired from the post in September to end a Civil Service career that spanned 36 years.

Mr Loughran said he regarded his KCB as "an affirmation of the appreciation of the exemplary dedication of the Northern Ireland Civil Service".

"I am privileged to accept this honour on behalf of the Northern Ireland Civil Service."

If these people are proven to be the guilty people, I have never had any hate towards them

Heather Saunders
Northern Ireland woman Heather Saunders is to receive an OBE. Her husband Brigadier Stephen Saunders, who was a military attache at the British Embassy in Greece, was murdered by the terrorist group November 17 while on his way to work in Athens.

Mrs Saunders campaigned tirelessly for the killers to be hunted down and for justice to be served.

Since the murder, 17 suspects have been arrested. At least one has confessed to taking part in the killing and another has been charged with pulling the trigger.

At the time she said: "If these people are proven to be the guilty people, I have never had any hate towards them. They are not worth thinking about."

The head of the probation board, Oliver Brannigan, has been awarded a CBE along with the former chief vet Dr Bob McCracken.

Dr McCracken led the fight against the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001 and was at the forefront of policy making as attempts continued to cut the number of cases of BSE in the province.

A cancer charity fundraiser from Donaghadee in County Down has been awarded an MBE.

Hugh Bell was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1990 and subsequently had his voice box removed.

He now uses an electronic audio device to communicate and, in spite of the difficulties caused by this, continues to speak publicly to raise awareness of Action Cancer, which he supports.

Altnagelvin Hospital Trust Chief Executive Stella Burnside gets an OBE for services to health care as does former Belfast Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers.

Ed Kilgore of Mourne Mountain Rescue
Someone has decided that my name should go forward and I am totally honoured by this

Ed Kilgore
Mr Rodgers was elected to the city council in 1993 and has held a number of senior posts with the council's committee.

"My mother is 95 and it was great to see her delight when I told her that her son was being honoured," he said.

The first woman to be ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland has been awarded an OBE for public service.

The Reverend Ruth Patterson is now the full-time director of the restoration ministries in the province.

Ed Kilgore, a volunteer with Mourne Mountain Rescue was awarded an MBE. He said he did not expect it.

"I have been involved in mountain rescue because there is a need and I enjoy it," he said.

"Someone has decided that my name should go forward and I am totally honoured by this."

Cleaner Bridie Nesbitt and school caretaker Sarah Rea both get an MBE, as does John Cherry, a driver for the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, County Antrim.

The policeman who headed the dive team who recovered the bodies of the Tullaghmurray Lass victims from the Irish Sea receives an MBE.

Sergeant Elvin Leech has been in charge of the Underwater Search Unit for the last 12 years.

Among the recipients of the Queen's Police Medal (QPM) are detective sergeants Trevor Currie and John McIlveen.

Inspector Noel Lusty also gets the award. He was on duty at the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle in 2001, when he noticed a bomb inside a car and evacuated the area.

At the time, the police said if the device had exploded, it would have created a fireball that almost certainly would have killed.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  BBC NI's Yvette Shapiro:
"More than 60 people in Northern Ireland have been honoured"
  Reverend Ruth Patterson OBE:
"Reconciliation work is essential for the good of the country"

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Key honours

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Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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