28 December 2019 08:42
TWO Warrington residents have been awarded MBEs in the New Year's Honours list for 2020. Kay Bohm, from Padgate has dedicated her life to helping with her services to education. Former Warrington Wolves forward Mike Nicholas has also been honoured for his services to rugby league in Wales. Kay spent three years in Kenya working at a school with refugees. Kay moved back to England with her family and began working as a teacher for children with special needs in St Helens.
She said: "I have worked with challenging children all of my life and while I was in St Helens in the 1990s, the opportunity to teach in Uganda came up so I applied for it." The unpaid teaching role in a Ugandan school meant working with many children orphaned by the war in the Congo. Kay continues to raise money to fund the salaries of two full-time specialist teachers at Kamarasi School to support children who are blind or have specialist needs, and organises fundraising events to support women's groups in Uganda by selling necklaces and other produce made by the women. In addition to teaching in the UK and Africa, Kay has also worked at Risley Prison for 30 years, helping vulnerable inmates. Kay initially volunteered at the prison on the Board of Visitors and set up a Quaker group for mums with babies to have unsupervised visits with their children in the Quaker chapel. Former Warrington Wolves forward Mike Nicholas has been awarded an MBE in the New Year's Honours List for his services to rugby league in Wales.
Mike, 73, who has lived in Warrington since joining The Wire in 1972, is currently president of Wales Rugby League, but continues to passionately support the game in his adopted hometown too – particularly in junior development. "This is a really proud day for myself, my family and for the game of rugby league. "I don't do my work in rugby league for recognition, but it's nice to be rewarded in this way nonetheless. "I've always felt comfortable in rugby league and I'll contribute whatever I can, as I love the game that much and I think it's often unjustly treated. "I'll always be here to stand up for rugby league as it's a great game. "I enjoy what I do now, helping out in North Wales, still visiting people in the south, plus I help out at Warrington Wolves with the foundation and I like to teach the young players the history of the club, showing youngsters their "Wall of Fame" to let them know what they can achieve." Mike has been actively involved behind the scenes for rugby league in Wales since 1981 when, alongside another former international player Dai Watkins, he helped set up Cardiff City Blue Dragons. He founded South Wales RLFC in 1996 in the first season of summer rugby league and became WRL president in 2003, helping to set up the Welsh domestic competition that still runs today, and assisted in the establishment of three of the clubs – Torfaen Tigers, Bridgend Blue Bulls and Aberavon Fighting Irish. Mike, a Warrington Wolves Hall of Fame inductee, was added to the RFL's role of honour in 2012 for his outstanding service to the game, while he was inducted into the WRL Hall of Fame in 2017. A Mansfield education chief who helped found a vital service in the town is to be made an MBE in the annual New Year's Honours list. Brian Smith helped create the R.E.A.L. Education group, an organisation based at King's Mill House which aims to "reengage young people with education" across Mansfield, Nottingham and the wider Nottinghamshire county. From an early age, Brian had a passion for education and learning, and as his career evolved he was gradually drawn towards teaching and the opportunity to enhance the life chances for children, young people and their families. During this time Brian saw a steady increase in the number of students being identified and diagnosed with additional learning needs, and it was this recognition alongside the encouragement and enthusiasm of his son Richard that lead to the creation of R.E.A.L. Education. Brian announced earlier this month that he would be stepping down from his role after 11 years, and in recognition of his work he has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to education. Celebrating Brian as he leaves his role, bosses at the group have praised him for his service. "Brian has been pivotal in R.E.A.L.'s development and has allowed Richard and I the freedom to pursue our ambitions for the young people we work with.