YORK’S libraries boss Fiona Williams and former York headteacher Brian Crosby both win recognition in the New Year Honours.

Ms Williams, chief executive officer of York Explore, receives the BEM for services to libraries, while Mr Crosby, chief executive officer of Coast and Vale Learning Trust and former head of Manor CE Academy, receives the MBE for services to education in Yorkshire.

York Press: York Explore CEO Fiona Williams, pictured in the Rowntree Park reading cafe

A York Explore spokesperson said Ms Williams became head of libraries in 2004, and developed the Explore vision, ‘pushing back the boundaries of what libraries and archives can achieve'.

They said: “Explore is now known nationally for its innovative, experimental approach showing the continuing value of public libraries in the 21st century.”

Ms Williams said she was ‘honoured and humbled’ to receive the award, but it was recognition for all of the Explore team who were making a difference every day.

"It could be anything from that warm welcome in our local libraries, reading stories at rhymetime and encouraging children to develop a lifelong joy in reading, supporting someone to get online or having a friendly chat over a coffee in one of our Reading Cafes, to developing our award winning Explore Labs or Big City Read,” she said.

Mr Crosby began his career as a science teacher in the 1980s at Selby High School and later became head of science and head of Year 11 at Archbishop Holgate’s School in York. Then, in 2001, he became head teacher at Manor CE School, where he stayed for 15 years, in which time a new school was built and the school gained an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted judgement.

York Press: Brian Crosby, former head of Manor CE Academy, who has received an MBE in the New Year Honours

He became chief executive officer of the Hope Learning Trust from 2015, helping it grow from just two schools to a family of 10 schools.

Yvonne Copley, of Easingwold, who was founder and chief executive of Kyra’s Women’s project and has just recently stood down, receives the MBE for services to women and the community in York.

She was determined to do something to help those facing barriers and crisis due to domestic abuse, isolation, mental health issues, addiction, bereavement, long term illness, anxiety and loneliness and the Kyra project was born, growing to more than 1,000 service users taking up places on courses including craft, gardening, cooking, singing and a reading group.

Others receiving honours include:

  • Scarborough and Whitby Conservative MP Robert Goodwill, who has a family farm at Terrington, near Malton, who receives a Knighthood for political and public service.
  • David Kerfoot, lately chair of York, North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, for services to rural businesses and the voluntary and community sector.
  • Professor Lucy Jane Carpenter, of the University of York, for services to atmospheric chemistry.