West Sussex honours are headed by MP

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WORTHING MP Peter Bottomley has received a knighthood in recognition of his 35 years as a Conservative MP in the House of Commons. He heads the list of West Sussex people recognised in this year’s New Year’s Honours list.

The former Tory minister, an MP since 1975, is honoured for public service in recognition of his long parliamentary career.

Sir Peter (66) was first elected in the Woolwich West by-election of 1975. He held the south east London seat renamed Eltham in 1983 until 1997. Since then he has represented Worthing West where he was re-elected in May with an 11,729 majority.

He served as a junior minister under Margaret Thatcher. He was a parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Employment, the Department of Transport and the Northern Ireland Office between 1984 and 1990 - but has spent most of his Parliamentary career as a backbencher.

His wife, former health secretary Virginia Bottomley, was made a life peer in 2005.

He is the first MP to be knighted since Sir Peter Viggers in 2008.

A Worthing campaigner for improved facilities for disabled people on public transport was made an OBE.

Wheelchair user Ann Bates (58) from Windsor Road, Worthing, is deputy chair and rail group chair of the national Disabled Person’s Transport Advisory Committee.

She has fought for improvements including lifts at railway stations to improve access. Mrs Bates first became involved after finding herself forced to travel in a guard’s van.

She said: “I found myself getting cold and angry and decided I needed to do something to start making things better.”

Gillian Fletcher, from Henfield, a tutor for the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), was made an MBE for services to healthcare.

She has worked at NCT since 1974 and was president of the trust from 2000-2005.

Another new OBE is Pulborough resident John Dixon, executive director of Adults and Children, and deputy chief executive of West Sussex County Council, for his services to local government.

Robert Stewart Napier. from West Sussex, who is chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency and the Met Office and has been made a CBE For public service.

Her services to continuing professional development have seen Jean Forbes Floodgate of Littlehampton, an MBE.

Another Littlehampton resident, Gina Watson, has also been made an MBE for her services to the community in the town.

Julia Lever, the founder of the Chase Children’s Hospice Service, which supports terminally ill children and their families in parts of Sussex, was also made an MBE for services to healthcare..