St Leonards company director and Battle governor’s delight over honours

Richard Watson
Richard Watson

A director and school governor have spoken of their delight after being named in this year’s New Year Honours list.

Richard Watson, from St Leonards, founder and director of Energise Sussex Coast, was awarded an OBE for services to the community in Sussex.

Margaret Southworth. SUS-160601-162342001

Margaret Southworth. SUS-160601-162342001

Energise Sussex Coast is a social enterprise set up with the aim of tackling fuel poverty in Hastings, Rye and Rother through ‘the promotion of energy efficiency programmes and renewable energy generation’.

Margaret Southworth, from Battle, has been awarded an MBE for services to education.

She is chairman of governors of The SABDEN Multi Academy Trust. SABDEN stands for Social and Behavioural Difficulties, Emotional Nurture and the trust runs New Horizons School in St Leonards. The trust also runs St Mary’s School, Heathfield, Cuckmere House, Horizons School, Lansdowne Secure Unit and College Central.

Richard said: “The award of an OBE came as a complete surprise to me. But it is an amazing honour and I hope it will open doors and raise awareness about what we can do to address climate change and fuel poverty if we act together. I am very optimistic about the future and it is great to see the Transition Town movement flourishing in Hastings.”

Richard is also a director of Community Energy South, an umbrella organisation for 15 community energy groups across Sussex and Kent, and a director of the Schools Energy Co-op, which is funding solar panels on up to 70 schools in the UK, including Glenleigh Park Academy in Bexhill.

He added: “We know we have to change the way we generate and use energy to avoid harming present and future generations. The good news is there is a revolution in renewable energy happening throughout the world and we can be part of it.”

Margaret said she was ‘very proud’ to be awarded an MBE. She said: “I worked for several years as an education welfare officer in East Sussex and have always been passionate in the belief all children should be able to access appropriate full-time education as an entitlement. I have been involved in school governance in East Sussex for more than 25 years but my main interest has always been with special schools.

“I accept this MBE not just for myself but on behalf of my fellow trustees and governors, who share my passion for ensuring our pupils have access to good and outstanding education in all our schools. At the heart of our work is the need to develop skills of resilience, tolerance, fairness and acceptance, values which not only make our school communities a positive place but which will also allow our students to function and contribute positively to their wider society.”

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