A HUMBLE Oxfam shop volunteer, a famous 60s pop star, an Imam fighting extremism and one of Hollywood's hottest rising actors are among the Oxfordshire residents named in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours List.

In total, 15 county residents were selected for MBEs, OBEs and other titles.

We spoke to just a few of them about their incredible lives.

Oxford Mail:

BEM: Muriel Anna Hunt, for charitable services in Oxford.

MURIEL Hunt sorted shoes and handbags at Cowley Road's Oxfam shop and made sandwiches at the John Radcliffe Hospital cafe for two decades, and only stopped when a broken leg in October forced her, at the age of 95, to take a break.

Now she is just waiting for it to get better to she can get back at it.

The grandmother-of-five said she volunteered for the companionship, especially after the death of her husband Philip 18 years ago.

She never dreamed anyone would give her an award for doing what she loved so much.

Speaking at home in St Clements today, she said was 'amazed' to receive the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her charitable services to the city.

She said: "I thought I had opened someone else's post at first.
"There are so many other people who do so much in the voluntary societies, I can't think why I should be singled out."

What makes Mrs Hunt's decades of selfless volunteering more remarkable is that she took it up after retiring from an equally selfless career in nursing.

After working for years in London, she got a job at Oxford's Churchill Hospital when she and Mr Hunt moved to Oxford in 1959.

She worked there for ten years treating patients with life-threatening infections such as polio and tetanus.

After retiring, she started volunteering in the early 1990s with the John Radcliffe Hospital League of Friends, whose cafe raises funds for new medical equipment.

At first she went in two or three days a week to help make filled rolls. In recent years she reduced that slightly to one day a week.

In the meantime, about 17 years ago, she also started volunteering weekly at Cowley Road's Oxfam shop.

Rather than work in a public-facing job, she had the humble task of sorting through donated shoes and bags; cleaning, pricing and putting them on display.

Speaking about her jobs she said: "I enjoy them both so much.

"You get far more back than you give: friendship, meeting new people – especially at Oxfam, meeting the students from literally all over the world.

"One great thing is that I found, when my husband died, was that because I had made a commitment to do something on a certain day every week, that was a great help."

Mrs Hunt said she hoped the BEM would help publicise the work of both the charities to which she has dedicated so much of her own life.

Laura Jones, deputy manager at the Oxfam Cowley Road shop said: "Muriel is an absolute star. She’s very popular in the shop, and will turn her hand to anything to help out."

Oxford Mail:

MBE: Monawar Hussain, for services to interfaith relations and to the community in Oxfordshire

IN THE wake of the recent terrorist attacks across the UK, Monawar Hussain's life's work may be more needed than ever.

The Oxford Imam is on a campaign to fight extremism and radicalisation in all faith groups across the country in the place that it too often begins: schools.

Through his Oxford Foundation and the associated United for Peace campaign, Mr Hussain travels to secondaries around the country, many in the most culturally diverse communities in Birmingham and London, and simply sits down with children and talks to them: helping them examine what messages they encounter online, and analysing extremists' claims to be acting on 'religious' motives when, often, they are anything but.

Having grown up as a child in an immigrant family who devotedly watched the Queen's speech each Christmas, trying to build bridges between his faith and the country he loves has always been a mission of the heart.

Now the Queen herself has recognised his years of devotion to the country by making him a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

The Cowley resident said: "When I found out it was a complete shock – especially as it was three days before my birthday.

"You expect it to happen to other people: I've spent the past 30 years off the radar, just trying to do the best I can for people of Oxfordshire.

"To be a member of the most excellent Order of the British Empire, that's just amazing."

Mr Hussain is now hoping the honour can be a booster for United for Peace as he tries to take it to more schools in London, Manchester and Bradford.

The 48-year-old, who has been an Oxford Imam for 13 years, added: "I just love doing what I do: I get a buzz out of bringing people together and celebrating.

"United for Peace is also a celebration of the UK: we live in an amazing country and I want to bring its people together in love and understanding."

Mr Hussain, who moved to Oxford after graduating, led the campaign to build Oxford Central Mosque in Manzil Way and in 2004 was made the first Imam at one of England's most prestigious schools, Eton College.

Oxford Mail:

MBE: Sandie Shaw, for services to music

ONE of Oxfordshire's most famous residents Sandie Shaw has been made an MBE.

Miss Shaw, who lives in Marcham, was granted the honour for her services to music.

The Puppet on a String singer first shot to international fame at the age of 16 when she performed alongside the already famous singer Adam Faith at a concert.

She had her first world-wide number one hit, Always Something There To Remind Me, at just 17 and by the end of the decade had notched up more than twenty top forty hits including more number ones than any other female British artist at the time.

One of those was Puppet on a String with which she won the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest.

After stepping away from the limelight to have her daughter Grace in 1971, Miss Shaw tried her hand at a string of other pursuits including writing and illustrating children's books and Shakespearian acting.

In the late 1970s she also began a lifelong commitment to Buddhism.

The following decade a series of concerts, campaigns and fundraises for AIDS-related causes resulted in her becoming United Nations Ambassador for Women Aid.

She moved to Oxfordshire in 1992 and trained to become a psychotherapist.

Oxford Mail:

MBE: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, for services to drama

PICKING up an MBE today was actress and former Witney schoolgirl Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

The 34-year-old was honoured for her services to drama.

Born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, the young Gugu grew up in Witney where she joined local acting group Dramascope and, from the age of 11, appeared in the Oxford Playhouse pantomime every year.

In 2001, she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.

Since graduating in 2004, she has appeared in all media, including as a widely-acclaimed Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre in 2005.

On television she has appeared in ITV drama Bad Girls, Doctor Who, Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror, and, in a link to Wallingford, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple.

On the big screen she had a supporting role in the 2011 romantic comedy Larry Crowne, written and directed by Tom Hanks.

Mostly recently she played the role of Plumette in the Beauty and the Beast reboot which started another former Oxfordshire schoolgirl Emma Watson.

Last year she was named as one of the most influential women in Holywood by fashion magazine Vanity Fair.

In recent interview with Bafta she said: "I have always loved acting and I started quite young being into dance and musical theatre and drama at school.

"When I was 17 I auditioned for RADA and got in amazingly. That just set me up.

"It is not always easy but I have never been bored."

Miss Mbatha-Raw is now filming the lead role in a new science fiction movie Fast Colour, directed by Julia Hart and set to be released next year, about a woman who is forced to go on the run when her superhuman abilities are discovered.

The full list of Oxfordshire recipients:


Professor Hugh Charles Jonathan Godfray, CBE. Hope Professor of Zoology, University of Oxford. For services to Scientific Research and for Scientific Advice to Government. (Mapledurham)

Professor Simon Lovestone. Professor of Translational Neuroscience University of Oxford. For services to Neuroscience Research. (London)



Dame Vera Stephanie Shirley, DBE. Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. For services to the IT Industry and Philanthropy. (Henley-on-Thames)



Professor Sir David John Weatherall. Regius Professor of Clinical Medicine Emeritus The Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford. For services to Medicine. (Oxfordshire)


Professor Jonathan Israel Gershuny. Professor of Economic Sociology and Senior Research Fellow Nuffield College, University of Oxford. For services to the Social Sciences and Sociology. (London)

Bernard John Taylor, DL. For services to Business Education and the Arts. (Thame)


Professor Katherine Mary Blundell. Professor of Astrophysics University of Oxford. For services to Astronomy and the Education of Young People. (Oxfordshire)

Dr Mehtabunisa Currey. For services to Global International Development. (Headington)

Professor Alison Mary Etheridge, FRS. Professor of Probability, Mathematical Institute and Department of Statistics, University of Oxford. For services to Science. (Oxfordshire)

Ms Caroline Underwood. Founder and chief executive Officer Philanthropy Company. For charitable services. (Waterstock)


Imam Monawar Hussain. For services to Interfaith Relations and to the Community in Oxfordshire. (Cowley)

Miss Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha-Raw. Actress. For services to Drama. (Oxfordshire)

Ms Sandie Shaw. Singer. For services to Music. (Oxfordshire)



Mrs Florence Elizabeth Broughton. For services to Disabled People in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

Mrs Muriel Anna Hunt. For charitable services in Oxford.