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Skipton headteacher and traffic cop named in King's Birthday Honours

The former headteacher of Skipton Girls' High School Jenn Plews and North Yorkshire traffic police officer Sgt Paul Cording have both been recognised in the first King's Birthday Honours list.

Jennifer Naomi Spencer-Plews is awarded an OBE for services to Education. She has been Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Star Academies Trust since 2017, following a five-year spell as Headteacher of SGHS.

NSAT is the multi-academy trust which includes Skipton Girls' High as well as Skipton's Greatwood Community Primary School, Holycroft Primary and Eastwood Community School in Keighley, Harrogate High School and four other primary schools in Harrogate.

She started her career as a teacher of Art and Design in the mid-90s and before coming to Skipton worked in four other local authority areas.

Also receiving an honour is Ilkley resident and scout leader Alan Naylor, who is awarded a British Empire Medal Alan receives the award for services to Young People. He's the Group Scout Leader for 10th North Leeds (Grammar School At Leeds) Scout Group.

Sgt Paul Cording has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to policing and charity. He has been with North Yorkshire Police since 2001 and joined the force after a decade of service in the RAF. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2005 and was part of the neighbourhood policing team based in Skipton.

In 2010 he swapped walking the beat for roads policing. In the past 13 years has attended the scene of more than 100 fatal road traffic collisions, witnessing first-hand the devastation, trauma and wider impact which each tragic incident causes to the families involved. This emotion ignited his passion for road safety and he became an advocate for safer roads.

Paul regularly attends schools in North Yorkshire to improve children’s awareness of their surroundings when near roads.

Paul has formed close ties with local charity, Road Safety Talks, led by Lauren Doherty BEM who Paul met when he attended a road traffic collision that led to Lauren becoming paralysed. Paul and Lauren have formed a close working partnership to spread important road safety messages and Lauren received a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s last Birthday Honours.

The commitment that Paul shows to road safety has seen him take on regular charity challenges where he has raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities. This year, Paul ran 325km in a week in honour of the 325 people killed or seriously injured on North Yorkshire’s roads in 2021.

He also took part in ‘Red January’ to fundraise for the Road Safety Talks Charity by running 5km every day of the month.

Chief Constable Lisa Winward said: “I am delighted that Paul has been recognised in this way. This award is thoroughly deserved and is a true recognition of his commitment to both policing and road safety.

“Paul continuously goes above and beyond on what is expected from him and this is one of the reasons that he is a highly respected and a well-liked officer within North Yorkshire Police.

“He has a personal passion for road safety and is committed both on and off duty to reducing the number of serious and fatal collisions on the county’s roads.

“As well as his passion for road safety, Paul is relentless in his commitment to fight crime. He is a credit to the force and is truly worthy of this honour and on behalf of all his colleagues in North Yorkshire Police, I can say that we are very proud of him.”

Rebecca Blunstone, Project Manager for Lauren’s charity Road Safety Talks added: “Paul continuously goes above and beyond what is expected of him in his police role and is also a huge asset to our local community. Lauren and I were extremely proud to support his BEM nomination which is thoroughly deserved.”

Paul commented: “I’m truly honoured to be awarded a British Empire Medal for my services to policing and to charity.

“I would like to thank those who nominated me from the Chief Constable’s office along with those who offered supporting evidence to go with my nomination.

“It goes without saying that my biggest thank you goes to my family and in particular my wife Michelle.  She is the one that holds the fort when I am late off, or I am engrossed in my work because I have had ‘one of those shifts.’

“I joined the police like so many others to help others and make a difference which I try to do every day and whilst none of us do it for recognition, receiving a BEM is very humbling.”

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