PEOPLE from Dudley are among those honoured in His Majesty The King’s Birthday Honours List.

Community champions, dedicated volunteers and passionate workers are among those recognised on the list, published by the Cabinet Office on Friday June 14.

Those honoured have been deemed to have helped to improve the lives of others by going the extra mile.

Notable recipients from the Dudley area:

Christian Dixon, chief executive of The Arts of Change, has been awarded a BEM for services to mental health in Dudley and the Black Country.

He took his love of working as a professional actor and passion for helping others and combined them together to train as a dramatherapist.

The 57-year-old has since worked with the national mental health charity MIND and the National Probation Service, leading a number of training programmes.

He also set up the charity the Arts of Change Trust and the CiC the Arts of Change Ltd, which has since provided more than one million therapeutic sessions to disadvantaged people experiencing mental health issues.

Christian managed the successful ‘The Dementia Poetry programme’ which supported dementia gateways across the Black Country and helped sufferers to explore their own experiences, through the creation of poetry as a way to express themselves.

He was made a fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and helped raise thousands of pounds for other local charities across the Black Country.

Christian also spent hundreds of hours, during the first wave of Covid-19 to develop a groundbreaking and free toolkit to help parents who would usually only see their children at a supervised contact centre to see and communicate with them remotely, whilst showing parents practical and creative tools to keep their children engaged. This initiative became so successful it was funded by The National Lottery and rolled out nationwide.

He and his team were given an innovation award from the National Association for Child Contact Centres, and he recently qualified as a clinical supervisor, meaning he provides ethical guidance and clinical support for other professional therapists and counsellors around the world.

Norma Hyde, from Halesowen, has been awarded a BEM for services to the Special Olympics Sandwell The 70-year-old, who runs and chairs Special Olympics Sandwell (SOS) has been dedicated to helping people with a learning disability in Sandwell for more than 40 years.

She has enabled hundreds of people with learning disabilities of all ages to participate, train and compete in a range of sports. The group runs regular weekly sporting activities and offers regular opportunities for the athletes to attend other sporting events in the UK.

Norma has dedicated a great deal of time to organising fundraising activities to cover the cost of transport to sports events and to support participants to attend competitions away from home; and in 2022, the SOS volunteers were awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Tireless Norma was also previously a teacher in a special educational needs school, she was the driving force that supported her 16+ students to participate in the Young Enterprise scheme that gave students the opportunity to learn work skills including making, marketing and then selling the items.

Kenneth Smith, aged 73, from Dudley, has been awarded a BEM for services to the community in Dudley.

The 73-year-old has transformed a disused parcel of land in Brierley Hill at the centre of his community into a thriving hub.

Hawbush Gardens was originally set up in 2004 as an urban farm with a goal of providing a much-needed green space in a heavily built-up area with high levels of deprivation.

By 2014 it had become overgrown, neglected and disused but Kenneth has over the last nine years transformed the site into a beautiful green space which is used regularly by locals and a variety of community groups engaged in produce growing, gardening, art and crafts and wildlife conservation.

Kenneth has also involved himself with various groups who use the gardens including young offenders, primary school children, and people suffering with mental health conditions, helping the groups make the best use of the space.

Family days and other events are hosted there regularly, and vegetables grown there are donated to the Black Country Food Bank, enabling them to offer fresh produce alongside the mainly packaged food they receive in donations.

He has also joined forces with The Connect Project and has allowed their charity to take on two plots to achieve the aims and objectives of supporting people with mental health issues brought on by everyday stress and financial worries.

Kenneth has helped to develop the local schools ‘seed to plate’ initiative – giving children an insight into where their food comes from and allowing them to experience the joy of growing their own and creating tasty dishes from the vegetables grown.

In addition to his work with Hawbush Gardens, he also volunteers at the Brierley Hill Project where he helps local people in practical ways by assisting them with claims for Universal Credit, writing CVs, providing testimonials and working with the Black Country Food Bank.

Veteran BBC Midlands Today presenter Nick Owen, who lives in Kinver, has also been honoured with an MBE for services to broadcasting and to charity.

Recipients from the West Midlands make up six per cent of the total number of recipients receiving honours this year.

Anyone who has achieved fantastic things worthy of recognition can be nominated for an honour. Find out more online at