The King's Birthday Honors List for 2024, which was released on the evening of Friday, June 14, embraced 1,077 men and women who deserved recognition for services to their fellow men.  The list included an impressive range of famous faces as well as a number of unsung heroes who were rightfully acknowledged for their tireless work in service of others.

Among the latter were those who have contributed to the support of Ukraine and Ukrainians who are suffering from the actions of Russia that have resulted from President Vladimir Putin’s 2022 invasion.

Richard Cecil Greenhalgh – Knight Bachelor of the Order of The British Empire

The founding Chair of the National College for School Leadership, establishing it nationally and internationally as a renowned center for the development of educational leadership and, as the chair of the “Hope and Homes for Children” charity ensured that humanitarian aid was provided to 19,000 families in Ukraine and over 20,000 Ukrainian refugees in Romania and Moldova.

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Lieutenant Colonel Vanessa Ropitini - Distinguished Service Decoration

A member of the New Zealand Armed Forces who was deployed as the Logistic Task Group Commander with the International Donor Coordination Centre (IDCC) in support of military teams from 26 nations to receive, assess for suitability and serviceability and the distribution of military aid provided to Ukraine.

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She said it was a huge surprise to receive the award and commented: “The Ukrainians we were working with daily, face-to-face, were just absolutely astounded and so thankful that a tiny little country down the bottom of the world would commit what we committed at the time ... to support them.”

Helen Jane Barnes Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

As the deputy Development Director for Ukraine in the British Embassy in Kyiv. She led the team responsible for the UK’s development and stabilization programs in Ukraine, primarily working with her national counterparts on issues surrounding governance and accountability including support to grassroots paralegal volunteers working on criminal justice sector reform. Prior to coming to Ukraine Barnes spent extended periods working in South Africa, Tanzania, Pakistan and Warsaw.

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Orysia Lutsevych - Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

As deputy Director and head, of the Ukraine Forum at Chatham House, her award was for services to International Relations. Her research focuses on social change, the role of civil society in democratic transition and democratic resilience to foreign encroachment in Eastern Europe, in general, but more recently specifically towards Ukraine.

She is the author of several Chatham House research publications, including Resilient Ukraine: Safeguarding Society from Russian Aggression, (with Mathieu Boulègue, 2020). She is a regular contributor to the BBC, CNN, the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times and the New York Times and is executive director of the Open Ukraine Foundation.

She said on receiving the award: “It is an honor to have the opportunity to bring better understanding of Ukraine to the UK and global audiences. I want to express my gratitude to Chatham House for making such an initiative possible.”

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The Very Reverend Father Mykola Matwijiwskyj – Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

The son of one of 30,000 Ukrainians who emigrated to the UK after World War Two he is now a very senior figure in the Ukrainian Catholic church for England, Scotland and Wales. A father-of-four based in London though originally from Coventry, in the UK’s West Midlands he has worked supporting Ukrainians in the UK for the best part of 40 years both as a priest and as director of the Ukrainian Information Service in England.

His award was for his work in establishing a welcome center for refugees arriving in the UK as well as setting up a fund to assist Ukrainians return their loved ones who die in the UK with repatriation costs. Father Mykola said the honor recognized “the whole team” of clergy and volunteers involved in the work.

He works closely with the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB), to help refugees with help in navigating their new temporary homes with such things as filling out documentation, registering with a doctor or obtaining social payments.

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The Very Reverend Father Mykola Matwijiwskyj. Photo: facebook

Paul Martin Murphy - Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Awarded for services to the citizens of Ukraine. As area manager for the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service was a leading member of volunteer groups from 15 Fire and Rescue Services throughout England and Wales working with the Home Office, the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC), FIRE AID and the Fire Industry Association. Together they were responsible for providing almost 90 surplus fire and rescue vehicles and over 190,000 items of firefighting equipment to Ukrainian fire and rescue services.

This included organizing more than seven road convoys and rail shipments, since the war began in 2022, that included not only fire engines, but incident command units, aerial ladder platforms, and 4x4 commanders’ vehicles.

Steven Carr - Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Awarded for services to the children of Ukraine and support to the Ukrainian Community in Scotland. He was the founder, of the “Dnipro Kids” charity, which he and some other supporters of the Hibernian football club set up after their club played a UEFA tie against Dnipropetrovsk in 2005. He and some of the fans took the time out to visit a state orphanage and, moved by what they saw, he set up the charity and acts as its chairman. He has been going back at least twice a year ever since, visiting the kids, and cooperating with charity worker Natalie Radchenko to organize holidays and deliver gifts to the orphans.

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Hannah Beaton Hawryluk - Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Awarded for services to the Ukrainian community in Scotland where she is “Holova” of the Edinburgh branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB). She said the award was made in recognition of the countless volunteers who have provided support to the Ukrainian refuges community in Scotland, in general, and the capital, in particular.

Commenting on her Facebook page she said, “What an honour and quite surreal. This one is definitely for the team as it wouldn’t have been possible without all the support over the last two years especially from my boys.”

Fedir Kurlak - Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

The Chief Executive Officer of the AUGB. who has worked in the association’s head office since 1985, received the award for services to the Ukrainian Community in the UK. He said he was “very honored to receive the award thanks to the thousands of people I’ve had the pleasure to work with.”

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Kurlak said his generation was repeating the efforts of those who helped Ukrainians arriving in the country after the Second World War to “put their feet on the ground and understand what it’s like to live in the UK”.

He added: “We are probably best placed as children of Ukrainian refugees to give them the assistance that they need in their mother tongue, and they perhaps feel comfortable in communicating with us.”

He added that a Ukrainian Welcome Centre set up in London had been replicated across the country, with 12 new community centres set up since the war started in February 2022.

Roman Bodnarec – British Empire Medal

Bodnarec, 70, works as a volunteer in the AUGB in Whitefield, Greater Manchester and was given the award for services to refugee resettlement. He said he was “honored and humbled”, adding he was accepting it on behalf of the work of all members.

He went on: “The true heroes, however, are all the Ukrainian men and women that have died trying to defeat this unlawful aggression, and save the land, the language, the culture and the people of Ukraine.

“It is to them that we owe a debt of gratitude, and the award is for their memory.”

The Military Division Honors and Awards

Members of the UK’s armed forces were honored separately, the detailed reasons why individual awards were made are rarely given out for security reasons. The British Army’s in-house magazine says 55 men and women received honors and awards for outstanding contributions both at home and overseas… [including] aid to defense efforts in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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