BY ANTHONY BRIELE
MANY CATHOLICS were
rewarded in the Queen's birthday honours list, which was publiShed last week.
Three of the prominent Catholics rewarded were Philip Lawrence (the late headmaster of St George's, Maida Vale who was awarded the Queen's Gallentry Medal); Tom Farmer CBE, the head of Kwik Fit who received a knighthood from the Queen, and Fr Francis Maple (MBE) — otherwise known as the "Singing Friar".
Kwikfit chairman Tom Farmer — who had received a papal knighthood only last month — said that he was "over the moon" but surprised to receive his knighthood for services to the automatic industry.
"I opened the envelope and there was this piece of information. I was speechless".
Another Catholic to be honoured was Gwen Mayor, who was killed along with 15 children at Dunblane primary school on 13 March last year. She and her surviving colleagues, Mrs Mary Blake and Mrs Eileen Harrild, were awarded MBEs.
Despite their injuries, they managed to crawl to a storage area and protect a group of children. Mrs Mayor died soon afterwards.
Fr Maple said he was "surprised" to receive the award. The Daily Post, in Chester, rang me and said: "Well done, you have received an award. Apparently, the press received the list 12 hours before I did."
Fr Maple received the award for his musical talents, with which he has raised money for charity.
"I have busked in the streets for about 24 years and play all kinds of music, religious, pop and folk".
Philip Lawrence was murdered in December 1995 as he attempted to protect a 13-year-old pupil from a Triad gang attack.
Mr Lawrence was kicked and punched when he confronted one of the thugs, who pulled a knife from his pocket and stabbed the headmaster.
Other Catholics honoured in the list were as follows: Sr Mary Coyle, Headteacher of St Patrick's Primary school, Greenock; Major William Herlihy, Army air corps, Mrs Lesley King, headteacher St Joseph's primary school, Aldershot, Wing Commander Andrew McDonald. (MBE). Wing Commander McDonald is active in the Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust.
Also included:Cdr Peter Crabtree (RN), chief town planner and Catenian Christopher Waite, John Stone, headteacher of Bishop Vaughan Comprehensive School in Swansea, and Antonella Marchioness of Lothian, for services to the blind and women's issues (OBE). Lady Lothian is the mother of Lord Ancram, the Tory MP and former Northern Ireland minister.