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Council manager awarded MBE

The Open Council can reveal that the 2011 New Year's Honours list showered acclaim on a galaxy of stars from the worlds of politics, business, sport and entertainment that were judged to have made lasting contributions to their community.

But rubbing shoulders with the celebrities at Buckingham Palace to pick up their awards will be an army of ordinary hard working people who have also made a big difference.

One of those is our very own Neil Munslow, the council's Housing and Welfare Services Manager, who was awarded an MBE for services to local government.

The news has been no secret in the Munslow household, where wife Janine and sons Ben and Laurie were tipped off about the award in November but sworn to secrecy.

Neil, 49, who has been with the council, for 21 years, was glad when the news broke and he could come clean about his new VIP status, though he is keen to point out it has been a team effort..

He said: "This is recognition of everyone in the housing and welfare sector in Newcastle, officers, volunteers and councillors. It would be difficult to single out individuals but colleagues in the council, YHN and partners in the voluntary and community sector should also take credit.

"I think I got this honour because of the good leadership of the council and hard work of so many colleagues. Newcastle's a great city where people demonstrably care and want to do the best for everyone in our community. I am very grateful and would like to thank everyone I've worked with over the last 21 years for their dedication and support."