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BIG staff honoured for public and community service

6 January 2010

By Margaret Cooney
Deputy Director Policy & Partnerships

Two of our most respected and well-liked members of staff received OBEs in the New Year’s Honours List.

Melloney Poole, head of legal services and Walter Rader, director of Big Lottery Fund’s Northern Ireland office were awarded OBEs in recognition for their exemplary service to the community.

As if she wasn’t busy enough, Melloney, combines her full-time job at BIG with her as vice-chair of the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust.  She’s remarkably good at both; colleagues here value her expertise and she is always approachable, supportive and patient, as I discovered recently when I went to her for advice on a particularly complex issue!

At the Royal Surrey Melloney did such a good job in developing their governance structure, she is now much in demand on the Health Service conference circuit and is often asked for advice by other Trusts. As might be expected of someone with such infinite reserves of energy she has also been a magistrate, school governor, parish councillor and a meals on wheels volunteer.

Walter is something of a legend at BIG. He takes a keen interest in the well being of staff and has the unique capacity to put everyone he meets immediately at ease. Previously Walter worked at the coalface in some of NI’s most disadvantaged communities, particularly at the height of the Troubles as a youth worker. This experience has held him in good stead throughout his career whether organising royal visits in NI as Honorary Secretary of The Prince’s Trust or running European funding streams.

He never forgets a face or a name and feels as comfortable in a room full of dignitaries or a classroom of rowdy children. If you are lucky enough, as I’ve been, to see him in action on his home patch then you will know that it can take a long time to get out of a room as Walter loves to catch up with old acquaintances, but this is one of the reasons why he is held in such high esteem by everyone he comes into contact with.

We’re delighted for both Melloney and Walter; their honours are well deserved and long may they continue to be inspirational figures in the community.

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