THE woman who ensures the smooth running of our courts and a military fundraiser have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Eve Miller and Tony Higham are among nine people locally who have been honoured for their tireless work to help others.
Mrs Miller is the operations manager of East Hampshire and Isle of Wight Courts and Tribunals in Portsmouth, where she has worked her entire 34-year career.
Heading up a team of more than 100 staff, Mrs Miller is also the chairman of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Family Justice Board – set up to ensure the best possible outcomes for children in care.
She said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled. It’s amazing. In fact, I’m a bit shell-shocked. I only recently found out I’d been nominated. I had to read the letter three or four times.
‘At first I thought it was a joke. It took some time to sink in.’
Mrs Miller is in charge of providing all the administration for the justice service across the county – including crown, magistrates, civil and family courts.
The 52-year-old, from Waterlooville, is helping to set up the pioneering Family Drug and Alcohol Court in Portsmouth.
Mrs Miller explained: ‘I find it very rewarding and feel lucky to be able to do a job that makes a difference to people’s lives. I work with the judiciary, the local authorities and solicitors looking at ways to prevent repeat offending within the family unit.
‘If a child is taken into care you also have to address the underlying issues that caused that to happened – whether it’s drink or drugs. Otherwise another child will be born and taken away.’
She added: ‘Families work with a team of professionals and experts in the field and they will see the same team, including the same judges, in order to build up a bond.
‘It’s to help them rather than just taking the children away from them.
‘It’s a privilege to do the job I do. I feel very lucky.’
Mrs Miller’s manager Paula Bray said: ‘Eve is an inspiration to all who come in contact with her.
‘She is an amazing leader and a professional advocate for the court service delivering on some huge family reform changes that will make an impact on the lives of children living within our area. I am so proud of her – this is such a well-deserved award.’
Retired Royal Navy Commander Tony Higham, from Hambledon, has been honoured with a British Empire Medal for his services to charity and the local community.
The 67-year-old has supported Royal Marines charities with a series of concerts in his village which raised £165,000.
At a 2011 concert, St Peter and St Paul Church played host to some of London’s finest sopranos, Winchester Cathedral Choir, the RM Brass Quintet and Corps of Drums and former Spooks actor Rupert Penry-Jones. Mr Higham received support from former prime minister Tony Blair and businessman Sir Philip Green who both sponsored the event. The money raised was donated to widows of Royal Marines who have died in Afghanistan.
Guests on the night included Christina Schmid, the widow of bomb disposer Staff Sgt Oz Schmid who was killed in 2009.
Mr Higham was instrumental during the village floods last year as leader of the flood action group.
He went out all in weathers for three months to make sure villagers were safe.
Mr Higham said: ‘I was very fortunate to lead a brilliant team for the two concerts.
‘There were some fantastic musicians and wonderful support from the village.
‘I’m deeply moved and feel very humbled.’
He added: ‘I was fortunate to chair a fantastic team of people from the village, professionals, Hampshire County Council and the Environment Agency, who helped the village in its dire time of need.’