Chris Ashworth awarded British Empire Medal in New Year’s Honours

3 January 2023

Head of estates Chris Ashworth has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the King’s new year’s honours for his services to further education.

The British Empire Medal is an award for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown.

Chris was nominated by his colleagues at Ashton Sixth Form College for his outstanding contribution to the college and the community during the pandemic. Chris is a long-standing member of the college team and is the sort of person every organisation needs. He is hard-working, caring, innovative and is able to rise to the challenge.

Chris was on site every single day of the lockdown, making sure that the site was secure. Once decisions were made about our return to work, he single-handedly sourced the required PPE and cleaning equipment and worked tirelessly with one other member of his team to make the necessary changes to classrooms, removing furniture and reconfiguring classroom layouts to meet COVID requirements. He did all of this with his customary cheerfulness.

Alongside this, Chris supported the NHS and local people, assisting his wife, a nurse at Tameside Hospital, to source valuable PPE and helping elderly local residents with shopping and errands alongside his job.

He took time to learn how to correctly use PPE to train all the cleaning team and the first aiders so they were comfortable in its use. Nothing was too trivial or too small; Chris did it all and we could not have prepared for our return to work without him.

In other times, Chris single handedly saved the college hundreds of thousands of pounds through the renegotiation of contracts, all of which could them be spent on teaching and learning. He is a shy and modest person, but the work he does shows his measure. He deserves this recognition for the work he completed during COVID-19, but also for the work he always does for the community. He is an example to us all.

Anton McGrath, CEO of Stamford Park Trust said: “Congratulations to Chris on the award of the British Empire Medal (BEM). Chris is an outstanding member of staff and fully deserves this recognition for the many years of service he has given to the Trust and to the college. This was exemplified by the way he managed the estates and facilities during the Covid pandemic; his 'can-do' attitude and willingness to find solutions to problems was essential to our successful return. On behalf of the Members, Trustees, members of staff and students across Stamford Park Trust, well done! We're all immensely proud that you are part of our community.”

Chris himself, added: “It's an honour and a privilege to have received this award, especially for just doing my job. I’ve worked at Ashton Sixth Form college and now Stamford Park Trust for 18 years and have loved every second of it, it’s amazing to work for an organisation that values and recognises achievements.”

But Chris was amazed to discover that he is not the only member of his family to have received a royal honour from a king.

For his great grandfather Charles Ashworth received a royal honour from King George VI for saving the life of a young boy from a Dukinfield lake back in 1947.

Chris said: “I only found out this week when my aunt contacted me and she had the paperwork of my great grandfather’s honour - it seemed surreal that he had received an honour from the king and now I am receiving an honour from the king too.”