Birmingham & Black Country

New Year Honours: Marcia Shakespeare and Karen Ross recognised

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Media captionMarcia Shakespeare is to become an MBE nearly 14 years after the killing of her daughter

Two mothers who have dedicated their lives to getting guns and knives off the streets following their daughters' deaths have been honoured.

Marcia Shakespeare and Karen Ross set up charities in their girls' memories. They have both been appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE).

Letisha Shakespeare, 17, died in a hail of machine-gun fire in the early hours of 2 January 2003, in Birmingham.

Rosie Ross was stabbed by a man with schizophrenia in 2001 as she sunbathed.

Image caption Friends Charlene Ellis, 18, and 17-year-old Letisha Shakespeare died in a hail of machine-gun fire as they stood outside a new year party in Aston, Birmingham.

Ms Shakespeare, 50, who was made an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list for her work to combat gang, gun and knife crime, said the honour felt "bittersweet".

"It's bitter in the sense that Letisha went out on new year and she lost her life," she said.

"The sweet moment is that there's a reward at the end to say that all of the work and effort I've put in to try to make a change is actually being recognised."

Ms Shakespeare launched the Precious Trust to prevent teenage girls becoming involved in gangs.

Image caption Karen Ross thanked everyone who had been involved in Rosie's Helping Hands

Mrs Ross has become an MBE for services to charity and the promoting the reduction of knife crime among young people in Walsall.

She set up charity Rosie's Helping Hands which has raised more than £350,000.

Image caption Janice Connolly created comedy character Barbara Nice

Also named in the honours list is Janice Connolly, best known for her stand-up comedian character Barbara Nice. The performer has received a British Empire Medal for services to community arts in the West Midlands.

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Image caption Karen Carney became a Member of the British Empire

England and Chelsea winger Karen Carney, from Birmingham, has been made an MBE for services to football, while para-cyclists Helen Scott from Birmingham and Jon-Allan Butterworth from Sutton Coldfield were appointed OBE for services to cycling.

Image caption Gurcharan Mall said his British Empire Medal would help encourage other Asian artists

Punjabi musician, performer and teacher Gurcharan Mall has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to British Asian music and performing arts.

The 64-year-old from Sutton Coldfield has recorded about 50 albums and singles since 1982, many of which went gold and platinum.

He said: "This [medal] will encourage my fellow musicians and dancers because they do not get the credit they deserve."

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