What an honour!

Date published: 16 June 2014

SERVICES to local government have earned stalwart councillor Howard Sykes and rugby league star Kevin Sinfield MBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

With 27 years of continuous office as a Lib-Dem councillor, father-of-three Councillor Sykes was Oldham’s youngest councillor on his election in Shaw in 1987.

Earlier that year he had been a founder member to the newly-established Shaw and Crompton Parish Council.

Councillor Sykes said of the MBE: “It’s a great honour and I was very surprised. It is very humbling and I am very proud. I’m passionate about Shaw and Oldham and it’s nice to be recognised for the work I have done.”

The son of a Shaw baker, the 50 year old has been heavily involved in local politics as both a borough and parish councillor for more than half his life. Recognised as a hugely influential figure on Oldham’s political scene, he is passionate about his role in getting the best for the people of Shaw and Oldham.

Councillor Sykes is leader of the opposition on Oldham Council, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group in Oldham, and a member of Shaw and Crompton Parish Council.

Captain of Leeds and England, record-breaking goal-kicker in Super League, Rugby League World Player of the Year and now MBE, Kevin Sinfield has experienced quite a journey since learning the ropes as a junior at Waterhead Park.

The six-times Grand Final champion — he was man-of-the-match in Leeds’ last triumph at Old Trafford in 2012 — had put the award to the back of his mind after receiving the news six weeks ago.

“To be honest, I had more or less forgotten about it, until it was officially announced. I didn’t want to count my chickens,” he said.

“I feel very honoured and a proud Oldhamer. It’s not just for me though, it’s recognition for all the people who have played a part in my career and for rugby league itself.

Sinfield (33), who lives in Grotton, will follow in the footsteps of another legend of rugby league and a Rhinos team-mate when he rolls up at the Palace gates to receive his gong.

He added: “I remember speaking to Jamie Peacock and his experience at Buckingham Palace when he got his MBE, and now I’m going to see it with my own eyes. I am going to enjoy it.”