A tireless local charity supporter and a champion of amateur boxing in the island have been recognised as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Katie le Quesne has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), while Brian Follain has received a British Empire Medal (BEM).
News of his recognition came as a shock for Mr Follain, who is being recognised for his services to amateur boxing in the island.
“Boxing has always been in my life,” Mr Follain said. “My dad was a boxer so it must be in my DNA.
“It’s a fully inclusive sport - women, men, youngsters and old, they are all equal as it should be. It’s like a family - very united and very supportive and there is an ‘esprit de corps’ in boxing. I love boxing, it’s been part of my life for the last 65 years.”
Pictured: "I love boxing, it’s been part of my life for the last 65 years," Mr Follain said.
Mr Follain started boxing at the age of 15 and continued until he was 25, when he joined the police force. He then went into the administration side of the sport, first as a judge and then a referee.
After graduating from refereeing, he took upon the role of official in charge of boxing in Jersey, which he has held for close to 18 years.
“It involves making certain that the very strict rules of boxing are strictly adhere to and that everybody is aware of those rules, and nobody breaks them.
“Boxing is a contact sport, and it is paramount that the rules are adhered to and administered for the benefit of all boxers.”
Mr Follain couldn’t quite believe it when the Lieutenant Governor, His Excellency Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton GCB informed him of the the honour he had been granted.
Pictured: Mr Follain initially thought the call from His Excellency was a "hoax".
“I was rather surprised, to put it mildly, but equally honoured and delighted and very humbled,” he said.
“I received a telephone call from his Excellency five or six weeks ago. My immediate thought when I received that call was that it was a hoax because it’s not every day you receive a call from his Excellency.
“The central gist of the conversation I do recall, but I do not remember the whole content because I was very surprised and in a state of shock.
“I want to thank my proposer and those who supported my nomination.”
Mr Follain said it hadn’t been difficult to keep his honour a secret as he had been asked to. He only shared the news with his wife as well as his two children, with whom he celebrated privately.
The recognition comes aptly as he prepares to retire from his role as official in charge.
“I am there until I voluntarily retire,” he said. “Equally, I have to be mentally apt. There is a time to stop. I should make it my last season and it will come to a close and somebody will take charge in my place.”
Mrs Le Quesne’s MBE was presented in recognition of her services to the community as Chair of the Jersey Funders Group.
A former journalist, Mrs Le Quesne has had a lot of experience in the third sector. She previously worked as a governor, and then chair of governors, at both Highlands College and Grainville School, she was a trustee of the Shelter Trust, a volunteer tutor in literacy for the Jersey Probation Service, as well as a volunteer adviser at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Jersey.
“As I used to work as a journalist and a reporter, I am very aware that this an island where there are people who are well off and people who are not and there is a great gap between those two areas.
“I wanted to make a difference and do what I could do to help those who needed help.”
Pictured: In the last year, the Jersey Funders Group has provided over £4million to local charities.
Mrs Le Quesne became a Trustee of the Lloyds Banks Foundation for the Channel Islands in 2014 and was named Chair two years later, a role she held until last year. It is during her tenure that she helped set up the Jersey Funders Group, which includes nine funders, including the Greville Bathe Fund, the One Foundation and the Association of Jersey Charities.
“When I became Chair, I knew that there were several significant funding organisations in Jersey and I knew that they had never met,” Mrs Le Quesne explained.
“I am a great believer in collaboration, and I thought that if we could meet, it would be helpful to all of us. We were aware that there could be duplication of funding, now we have a much greater picture, and through that clearer picture, we feel much more confident that the funding is going to the people and places who need it most."
Last year, as the pandemic created fundraising issues for local charities, the Jersey Funders Group launched a new application process for charitable funding, enabling charities to access much-needed funds quicker.
The Group has provided nearly £1m of emergency funding in the last year as well as an additional £3m in non-emergency funding since last September.
“It’s been very interesting,” Mrs Le Quesne said. “The six months of last year were quite exhausting but it’s been incredible to see how charities rose to the challenge of how to deliver services differently. The inventiveness of charities is just staggering.
“We realised they had not been able to fundraise the way they had before and at the beginning some of the funding supported working differently. Funding was directed to food back, the homeless shelter, the Shelter Trust, the Women’s Refuge; all those services saw a spike in demand.
“Since then, we have seen a lot of need for funding for support for mental health, some of which from some charities you would not associate with mental health such as cancer charities, who have had to hire counsellors to support people with their mental health because they have not been able to receive their treatment.
“The pandemic has affected charities in ways that people would not realise.”
Pictured: “I have been incredibly lucky in my charitable work that the people I have worked with have been very supportive and like me keen to improve what we can do to help people more," Mrs Le Quesne said.
Always interested In developing its support to local charities, the Funders Group also recently started providing training to local organisations to help them achieve the best outcomes for the people they support.
“We will always be looking, as a group, at new ideas on how we can support charities,” Mrs Le Quesne said.
The charity stalwart said she was shocked when she heard she had been recognized as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
“It was certainly unexpected,” she said. “I am very aware that the Jersey Funders Group is a team and this is an acknowledgement of the work of the whole team, not just me.
“My first reaction was shock and a feeling that really I am just part of a team. I think it is a credit to anyone who is involved with any of the charitable work.
“I have been incredibly lucky in my charitable work that the people I have worked with have been very supportive and like me keen to improve what we can do to help people more.”
Mrs Le Quesne said her family had been “thrilled” for her and that she would soon be sharing the news with the team.
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