NINE Dorset residents have been put forward for various honours for The Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

This year’s awards are expected to be focussed on key workers and NHS staff for their hard work and dedication during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Minerva Klepacz, a matron of Ophthalmology and BAME Network Lead at Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has been put forward for a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her services to nursing during the Covid-19.

The 41-year-old, who was born in the Philippines, has been a nurse in Bournemouth for 18 years, working in many departments before becoming an influential leader of the Eye Unit.

Minerva said: “I was really surprised to be honoured, I never really thought I could have this prestigious award.

“I think it is for everyone, it is as a team. There are loads of other staff, especially in this trust, that work above and beyond.

“It is a privilege and as a Filipino I am happy to be honoured. I would like to make this award for everyone on the unit and everyone of a BAME background.”

Minerva, who has lost 11 friends during this Covid pandemic, said that she dedicated her award to her colleagues and all the NHS colleagues who have lost their lives during the coronavirus outbreak.

She added: “During this pandemic it has been a challenging time. People from a BAME background are more affected by Covid-19, I wanted to offer support to other staff.

“Most of them don’t have their family here so we can be a family for them. It’s about listening and empowering them to speak up.

“It is such an honour, I am so happy. I have my family back home and it is extremely hard not seeing them.”

Dr Matthew Knight, from Stalbridge, will be awarded an Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to the NHS particularly during Covid-19.

The respiratory consultant at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust is Currently working on projects in virtual/remote patient care whilst undertaking a sabbatical in Valencia, Spain.

Paramedic and Lead manager for Helicopter Emergency Medical Services at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust Richard Marlow will also receive a Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal.

Outside of the NHS, former Bournemouth Borough Councillor Rae Diane Stollard is due to receive an MBE for her services to the community in Bournemouth.

Rae worked in Harrogate for 25 years, mainly working in the Citizens Advice Bureau before moving to Bournemouth in 2002 where she became ward councillor for Westbourne and West Cliff.

She said: “It is extremely humbling but I can’t help but think there are so many other people in this town and elsewhere that have been doing more than me but haven’t been recognised.

“One of my big passions was improving rehabilitation in the community. It isn’t life saving but improves the quality of life which is very important to me. I did a lot in the social and adult health care and children which are two of my other big passions.

“I have always worked with people, trying to give back to the community because I have always been grateful for what I have, and I wanted to help other people improve their situation.

“The nominations are made by who are not related to you so to have friends and colleagues who have recognised your work makes it even more special.”

Maze creator Adrian Fisher has been nominated for an MBE for his services to International Trade and the Creative Industry.

Adrian, who was born in Bournemouth and resides in Blandford, has produced more than 700 mazes in 42 countries since 1979.

He said: “Before the pandemic, the creative industry was one of the fastest growing sectors in the country. It allows you to explore the world and meet and work with people who are experts in their fields from across the world.

“One day, I got a letter from the palace asking would I accept my MBE. Up until yesterday, it was only my wife who knew about it. I have managed to keep it a secret from my children. “It is a huge honour. Very rarely in life do you get something that is completely out of the blue. This isn’t like a university degree which you work towards with the expectation of receiving it at the end. “It is a joyous occasion for me and my family.”

Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust Ali Oliver has been awarded an MBE for services to sport inthe Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020.

Ali has been the Youth Sport Trust’s Chief Executive Officer since 2015 and has worked at the charity for over 15 of its 25 years.

Ali said: “I am truly honoured and humbled to be recognised in this way.

“It has been an utter privilege to play a part in the journey of the Youth Sport Trust; a very special charity with a mission close to my heart.

“I don’t believe there is anything more important, or fulfilling, than helping to build brighter futures for young people, and there is no doubt in my mind that play and sport are essential ingredients to a happy and healthy childhood.

“I would therefore like to dedicate this honour to the staff and wider family of the Youth Sport Trust and thank them for their incredible passion and commitment to improving young people’s lives.”

Rev. Canon Timothy Biles, from Sherborne, will receive an MBE for services to the Church, whilst Honorary Events and Welfare Adviser, Royal National Lifeboat Institution Helen McHugh will also collect a British Empire Medal for services to retired staff.