JOHN Laidlaw, executive director of Live & Local, has been awarded an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the arts.
The Live & Local Rural & Community Touring Scheme, launched in 1992, supports voluntary organisations to bring professional live theatre, music, dance and more to village halls, churches and schools. The national scheme developed out of a Warwickshire scheme started five years earlier.
John, who live sin Warwick, said: “Initially I was flabbergasted and then honoured and then when I found out how it had happened, hugely grateful to all the people who had supported the process.
“It’s great to be recognised personally for something that you’ve put most of your working life into – but I also think it is a great accolade for the rural touring sector. Without the dedication of many other people over many years getting the sector to the scale and respect it now has, the MBE wouldn’t have been possible.”
John is also a board member of the National Rural Touring Forum – serving as chair for a decade until 2017 – which represents the Live & Local schemes across the UK.
John’s love of student theatre led him to start work as a stage manager, before he joined Warwick Arts Centre ending up as acting chief electrician. From 1985 to 1991, he was the production manager for the Tic Toc Theatre Company in Coventry.
In 1992, he was contracted to run the Live & Local touring scheme in Warwickshire where he was to become executive director.
- OTHER district residents were also recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.Tony Allcock was honoured with an OBE – which follows the MBE the former world bowls champion received in 1989.
The chief executive of Bowls England – who helped secure the organisation’s move to Leamington in 2014 – was delighted.
He said: “The sport of bowls has been a huge part of my personal and professional life. I am humbled to have been nominated for this award and am delighted to receive it.
“There have been significant changes over the past few years to make the sport more appealing to a wider audience than ever before including women, young people and players with a disability. It has been an honour to lead this work and while the landscape for all sport and leisure activity is ever-changing, I am confident that the foundations we have laid will stand us in good stead for many years to come.”
President of Warwickshire Young Carers, Santosh Kundi, was recognised for her services to students and the community in Warwick with a British Empire Medal.
The University of Warwick’s former deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Mark Smith, was awarded a CBE for services to research and higher education.
And Matthew Thomas Scott, a senior warden at the university, received a BEM for services to students and the Warwick community.