who is leading the UK’s
response to the threat of
storms from the sun has
been awarded the OBE in the
New Year’s Honours list.
Professor Paul Cannon,
who lives in Colwall and
until recently worked at
QinetiQ, has spend decades
studying space weather – the
high-energy particles and
radiation emitted by the sun,
which can disrupt satellite
communications and electrical
power grids.
Professor Cannon is also a
fellow of the Royal Academy
of Engineering, and was the
lead author in the academy’s
report, Extreme Space Weather,
published earlier this
He said: “This report is
being taken extremely seriously
in government circles,
and I assume that it’s
because of this that I was recommended
for the OBE.”
The report deals with the
dangers posed by solar
superstorms, massive eruptions
from the sun which can
disrupt communications, and
damage the satellites on
which the human race
increasingly relies for services
ranging from TV to
In extreme cases, solar
superstorms can even disrupt
electrical power grids
on the earth’s surface –in
1989 a storm caused a large
part of the power grid in
Quebec, Canada, to fail.
He said: “It’s very gratifying
to be given the award,
because it shows that people
in high places are taking the
threat of solar superstorms
very seriously.
“Only last week, it was
announced the Met Office
will soon be providing daily
space weather forecasts to
provide early warning of
solar storms.”
Professor Cannon, aged 60,
grew up in Enfield, north
London, and studied physics
at Southampton University
before working for Marconi
and the Royal Aircraft Establishment.
He moved to the Malvern
area with his family 20 years
ago and worked for QinetiQ
in senior positions until
He is currently professor of
radio science and systems at
the University of Birmingham.
Meanwhile, an assistant
headteacher who recently
celebrated 100 terms of
teaching has been given an
MBE for services to education.
David Kemp, assistant head
at Bromyard’s Queen Elizabeth
Humanities College,
says he hasn’t a clue who
nominated him, but his
delighted all the same.
“I am naturally delighted to
have been nominated for this
award,” said Mr Kemp, who
joined the school as a music
teacher in 2005. He has been
a teacher for 33 years.
“I often feel very guilty
about my job because I thoroughly
enjoy what I do and
also get paid for it and now I
have also received this
award,” said the 55-year-old.
“I have just completed my
‘centenary term’ in education
and what a way to celebrate
Alongside QE headteacher
Michael Goodman and deputy
headteacher Bonnie Griffiths,
Mr Kemp, who lives in
Bromyard, has helped oversee
a dramatic improvement
in the school’s GCSE results.
The number of students
recording five or more
GCSEs including English
and maths at the venue has
risen from 34 per cent in 2010
to 80 per cent in 2013.
Other honours in the two
counties include Mid-
Worcestershire MP Peter
Luff who has been knighted
for more than two decades of
public and political service.
Ruth Jones, a senior lecturer,
researcher and consultant
at the University of
Worcester has been made an
OBE for her years of work
helping victims of domestic
and sexual violence.