A MAN who has worked tirelessly to keep people safe during the pandemic has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List.

Emrys Pritchard, the director of Health, Safety and Sustainability at Northumbria University, was honoured for his services to higher education.

He joined Northumbria in 2016 and has made a significant contribution to the university's focus on protecting the health and wellbeing of students and staff both before and during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He has worked tirelessly since January 2020 when the pandemic began to unfold, working with colleagues across the university and liaising with sector, local and national bodies to ensure Northumbria was prepared, safe and secure and in a position to keep critical services open.

Additionally, Emrys has enabled key local partners, including the NHS Trust, to access Northumbria’s facilities, ensuring that key Covid-19 research continued on campus throughout lockdown and that the university was able to produce PPE components for use by NHS workers locally.

Emrys, who lives in Stanley, said he was humbled and honoured to receive the award.

He said: "The last 18 months have been extremely challenging.

"Providing a safe environment for our staff, students and the wider community could only have been achieved through a monumental team effort by the whole university community.

“Northumbria is a fantastic place to work, placing staff and students at the heart of everything that we do, and while we continue the fight against Covid-19, we will always ensure that they remain safe.

“I am grateful for the support that I have received from my family, who knew that everything I was doing was for the good of our Northumbria community in contributing to the national effort in combating Covid-19.”

Prior to joining the university, Emrys served 24 years in the Royal Engineers in HM Forces.

His service was extensive, managing health and safety in construction and facilities sites across the world, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Belize, Bahrain, Northern Ireland and the UK.

After his time in the forces Emrys gained experience in managing health and safety in a range of contexts in the private sector.

Emrys will receive his award at an investiture ceremony in Buckingham Palace later this year.

Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, vice-chancellor and chief executive of Northumbria University added: “I am delighted to see Emrys Pritchard’s work protecting the health and wellbeing of our students and staff recognised.

"This is a fitting tribute to Emrys’ service to Higher Education and Health and Safety.”