Horsham district residents receive awards in Queen’s New Year honours

Proud families are celebrating after two Horsham District residents won royal recognition for their work and dedication.
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Mark Apsey and David Burns were both awarded the MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list.

Mark, 43, from West Chiltington, spends much of his spare time as a volunteer helping organisations to save energy.

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A chemical engineer, he is a director with the energy efficiency company Ameresco. He leads technical and business development teams helping organisations, such as hospitals, schools and factories, to identify and implement energy-saving schemes.

Mark Apsey and David BurnsMark Apsey and David Burns
Mark Apsey and David Burns

Mark volunteers with the Institute of Chemical Engineers’ energy centre board of which he is chairman.

Married with three sons and two stepdaughters, he said he was ‘surprised’ when told of his MBE but also ‘inspired’ to do more.

“I think the issue of climate change is massive and we are not on track so we have to take some radical action now,” he said.

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“The more we are working at it in the business that I do, we can make a difference. We need to transition to renewable energy.”

David Burns, from Storrington, has spent the past 10 years helping children with autism.

Father-of-four David’s voluntary work includes writing guides for schools, lecturing at the University of Winchester and supporting families of autistic children through various challenges.

As well as encouraging individuals, David - who works full time in IT for a Horsham company - also challenges those in authority to become better at understanding the needs of families.

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He said: “Families affected by autism need greater understanding from schools and the council when it comes to providing support and helping them cope with high anxiety.

“Some parents are prosecuted for their child’s low school attendance when the issue is a lack of support rather than a failure of the parent.”

He added: “It took 410 days to build the Empire State Building and yet many families are waiting for two years for a diagnosis for their child.

“In the meantime people drag their heels when they should be running to help these children.”

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David has written school guides on how to create autism-friendly classrooms with strategies which cost nothing and will soon be making a story book available to help teachers and parents engage with primary school children about mental health.

“So many autistic children have huge potential and it’s being missed in an inflexible education system much to our shame and a loss,” he said.

David is the author of several books including Do Lemons Have Feathers?

He is soon to start work with the NHS with a view to giving future GPs a greater understanding of what life is like for families with autism.

He said he hoped his award of an MBE would ‘help more families’