Two Kingston residents recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

Surrey Comet: Mary Reid OBE Mary Reid OBE

A long-serving Liberal Democrat activist from Chessington and a retiring director at a prestigious London music school from New Malden have been named in the Queen's Birthday Honours.  

Former Kingston councillor Mary Reid and Marion Friend, junior director at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, have been included on a list that also features actors Angelina Jolie and Daniel Day Lewis and teenage cancer campaigner Stephen Sutton.

Mrs Reid has been awarded an OBE for political service, particularly in Kingston.

The former councillor and mayor of Kingston has been involved in politics for more than 40 years, and was chair of the Kingston Liberal Democrat Party from 2010 to 2013.       

She said: "It's extraordinary. I fell off my feet when I found out - I was completely gobsmacked.

"Nobody expects to receive something like that. I'm not even sure who nominated me - nobody's admitted to it yet.

"It's just lovely to know what you have done is appreciated, although there's plenty of other people who have done a lot of good work as well."

Mrs Reid's political career began in the 1970s, when she was canvassed by a prospective Liberal Party candidate ahead of a local election.

"We got chatting, and I just thought I'd quite like to get involved," she said.

Mrs Reid carried out several administrative posts for the party during the 70s and 80s, when her job teaching computer science at Kingston College - which was still under local authority control, making her a council employee - prevented her standing as a councillor.

When  the college broke away from the council, Mrs Reid stood for the Lib Dems in a 1997 by-election in the old Hook ward - since renamed North Chessington and Hook - and won.

She was convinced to stand by her "political hero" Shirley Williams, one of the 'Gang of Four' Labour rebels who founded the Social Democratic Party in 1981, which in turned  paved the way for the formation of the Liberal Democrat party in 1989.

Mrs Reid represented the ward as a councillor for 13 years, before stepping down in 2010. She served as mayor in 2006/07. 

In 2010, she was elected chair of the Kingston Liberal Democrats, on a three year term.

She is currently an editor for the party's Voice weblog, has sat on national policy groups and is an executive within the Lib Dem's social liberal forum, which promotes social justice and individual liberty.     

Mrs Reid said: "Everything I've done has been done with a sense of conviction and because I like doing it.

"I like being around my colleagues and it's a very enjoyable." 

Meanwhile, Ms Friend, who has spent the past 12 years as director of Junior Trinity - Trinity Laban's Saturday school for gifted young musicians - recieves an MBE for services to music education. 

She will retire in the summer. 

Dr Claire Mera Nelson Trinity Laban's director of music, said: "I would like to pay tribute to Marion and her many years of dedicated work in growing the reputation and quality of Junior Trinity, which today is one of the finest and most inclusive Saturday schools for gifted and talented young musicians in the world."

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:14pm Wed 18 Jun 14

Tony from Surbiton says...

I didn't realise people could be awarded an OBE for 'political service', I reckon that there would be a wide difference of opinion as to whether she was any god or not - the same for any councillor. Presumably she is simply receiving it for the amount of time she has been involved in politics, rather than the quality of her work. Not sure if I agree with this or not.
I didn't realise people could be awarded an OBE for 'political service', I reckon that there would be a wide difference of opinion as to whether she was any god or not - the same for any councillor. Presumably she is simply receiving it for the amount of time she has been involved in politics, rather than the quality of her work. Not sure if I agree with this or not. Tony from Surbiton
  • Score: -1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree