[E]den District Council’s Deputy Chief Executive and Communities Director, Ruth Atkinson (58) has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for Services to Local Government.
Ruth, who is set to retire in August 2016, has worked for Eden District Council for the past 16 years in a number of different roles.
Ruth Atkinson MBE, said: “It was quite a shock to receive a letter from the Cabinet Office saying I have been nominated to receive an MBE award for ‘Services to Local Government’.
“It took me some time to decide whether to accept it, as I am certain there are other more deserving colleagues out there. However, on reflection, they picked me! And so I am delighted. I am also due to retire this summer and it is wonderful to depart with such an accolade.
“I first started work in Local Government in 1973 at the tender age of 16 years. I started work as a library assistant for Birmingham City Council – the largest Local Authority in Europe. Over my 41 years work, it has been downsizing ever since!
“I have enjoyed working for a range of different councils from city councils such as Liverpool and Carlisle, and for both urban areas such as The Wirral, to rural areas – and especially lovely Eden. I even tried to get away for a few years by moving to Spain but there I ended up working for Barcelona City Council.
“Although I have had a variety of different jobs over the years my focus and interest has always been on customers and on communities. It is hard to single out specific projects, however dealing with the recent floods, both in an emergency planning capacity over that terrible weekend itself, and after that, acting as lead flood recovery officer for the council is still very fresh in my mind, particularly knowing that communities and individuals are still suffering from the after effects.
“I have also along the way undertaken very many hours of evening and weekend work alongside the day job and these have been some of my most enjoyable times – meeting people, listening to what they have to say and being out and about in communities, demonstrating the positive role that local authority services can play in people’s lives.
“My career would have been all the poorer had I not worked with such marvellous, hardworking and professional colleagues and encountered many dedicated and tireless Councillors.
“So I am off to the Palace sometime soon. Funnily enough it will be déjà vu as I took my mum there last year to receive her MBE, for a much more deserving lifelong worth of voluntary service – it’s a hard act to follow.”
Eden District Council’s Leader, Councillor Kevin Beaty: “I am absolutely thrilled to hear that our Deputy Chief Executive and Communities Director Ruth Atkinson has received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Ruth has work tirelessly to take forward the Council’s approach to the Localism Act by working with our communities to take forward Neighbourhood and Community led planning.”
For more information about Eden District Council visit www.eden.gov.uk