Queen’s birthday honours for two Sleaford area executives

Margaret Serna. EMN-161006-165655001
Margaret Serna. EMN-161006-165655001

The Sleaford area sees two high flying executives rewarded for their efforts in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Margaret Serna, of South Kyme has been awarded a CBE and David Batchelor of Sleaford has been given an MBE.

Mrs Serna is chairman of the Board of Corporation for Lincoln College and managing director or Thames Group (UK) a private health transport company with business interests across Europe.

She receives her gong for services to Further Education.

Mrs Serna said: “I am deeply honoured and very proud that I am being recognised for a role that I consider it a privilege to be able to undertake. I have been a board member for eight years and chairman for five years now and have found working towards enriching the lives of young people through training and education a deeply rewarding and life enhancing experience.

“Over the years I have seen our organisation develop into a dynamic and diverse group of colleges stretching across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and overseas into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and China, touching the lives of many thousands of learners.

“I look forward to continuing my work in this area and would like to thank those who have supported me along the way. In a sense this great honour is shared with them, many of whom have made a similar contribution to my own.”

During her career, Mrs Serna has worked in senior positions in both the private and public sectors throughout the UK and more latterly in Lincolnshire, where she was the MD of Passenger Services at TransLinc from 2007 – 2009 and prior to that, Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire Ambulance and Health Transport Service NHS Trust.

Her early career was as a microbiologist working in research and development with ICI in the North East and North West of England. This was followed by a period of further study that resulted in her qualification as an accountant and subsequent transfer to the public sector, taking up a role with the NHS in Lincolnshire in 1990. Her NHS career included a number of senior roles in Finance and Commissioning. In 1999 Margaret took up a board role with the Lincolnshire Ambulance Trust and became Chief Executive in March 2000. This marked the first ever appointment of a female to such a role in the NHS. During her time at the Trust, the service strengthened its community focus and pioneered many initiatives that were subsequently adopted nationally. She also chaired and served on a number of national committees.

She says she is passionate about the benefits of life long learning and skills development for sustainable improvements to local communities. She also works with a number of local charities.

Mrs Serna is married with two daughters.

David Batchelor is a Senior Executive Officer with the Ministry of Defence and has received his honour for services in support of the drawdown of the military estate in Germany.

This was as Drawdown Programme Manager with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, based in Germany.

British forces have been based in Germany since the end of the Second World War and until 2013, there were about 20,000 troops stationed in the country, but as part of the ‘Army 2020’ plan, they were returning to the UK, with the last personnel set to come back to the UK in 2019.

A Chartered Surveyor by trade he worked in Germany helping to manage the drawdown. His team were returning surplus property to the German authorities and negotiating about final settlement sums. These could be paid from the UK to the Federal Republic of Germany or the other way around. For example, the Germans compensated Britain for any buildings which were originally funded by the Ministry of Defence.

In a blog he wrote for the Ministry of Defence two years ago during the height of the move, he explains: “Organising such a large-scale movement of people is a sizeable challenge under any circumstances, but we also need to return four garrisons, 26 barracks, and 17,500 hectares of training estate to the German authorities before 2020. The Germans are obviously keen to find suitable uses for the land and buildings once we’ve left. It’s not easy, because as in the UK, planning permission is required for changes from military to civilian use.”

This involved helping decide what type of civilian use including attending a number of workshops with local German organisations.

Linda Ann Swalwell, also from Sleaford, a Higher Executive Officer at the Ministry of Defence also received an MBE for services to the Air and Army Cadets.