Sterling support: Birmingham's Orgill and University of the West of Scotland's McInally recognised

January 4, 2008

Support and administative staff are among the unsung heroes of higher education recognised in the New Year's honours list.

Among them is David McInally, the University of the West of Scotland's recently retired services supervisor, who was awarded an MBE for services to higher education.

Mr McInally, 66, joined the university staff 16 years ago as a car park attendant after working as a factory supervisor.

During his time at the University of the West of Scotland, he chaired the the institution's Unison branch and also sat on its court.

Although retired, Mr McInally is currently the university's Bedellus, an honourary role that involves carrying the mace for the Rector at ceremonies.

He said: "I was lying in bed when my wife said that a letter had arrived for me, marked Her Majesty's Service. To be honest I thought it was a letter about my tax but when I opened it and saw what it was, I got a lump in my throat.

"I never thought throughout my working career that I would ever get something like this. It's a great honour for me and also for the university."

Also honoured was Ken Orgill, head of support services at Birmingham University, who was awarded an MBE, again for services to higher education.

He told The Times Higher : "I feel very privileged to receive the award, and it has been an honour to work at one of the top universities in the country and indeed the world."

Mr Orgill has been at the university since 1970, after beginning life working in the dry cleaning business, and he will retire in July this year.

"I have a very good set of managers working for me, and this is as much a credit to them as it is to me really," said Mr Orgill.

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