A TYNE Valley woman has been awarded one of the highest honours in the country in the Queen's New Years Honours list.

Newcastle City Council's Chief Executive Pat Ritchie, who lives in Corbridge, was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for her services to local government and public service reform.

She said: "“I am very proud to be recognised in the New Year’s Honours. The important work of councils has never been in sharper focus than it is today, continuing to deliver services and supporting our residents and businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone who works within local government strives to improve people’s lives, to support communities and create effective partnerships with our businesses, health service and education provider."

Also receiving honours were Lesley Braiden of Ponteland and Stephen Holmes of Corbridge, who were both made MBEs.

Former Newcastle University employee Lesley was recognised for her services to higher education. She widened participation into further education, particularly for disadvantaged children in the North East.

Northumberland County Council's former service director for adult social care, Stephen Holmes, was made an MBE for his work during COVID-19.

Daljit Lally, Chief Executive of Northumberland County Council said: “I have had the pleasure of working with Stephen for many years and I am delighted he has been recognised in this honours list.

“When the pandemic struck Stephen immediately understood the significant impact it would have on adult social care services across our county and he personally led the search to source PPE for social care staff and care providers.

“Having tracked down these vital supplies he spent the Easter weekend helping to distribute desperately needed PPE. I know Stephen's family, friends and colleagues will join me in congratulating him.