TWO Warrington residents have been awarded MBEs in the New Year’s Honours list for 2020.

Kay Bohm, from Padgate has dedicated her life to helping with her services to education.

Former Warrington Wolves forward Mike Nicholas has also been honoured for his services to rugby league in Wales.

Kay first started volunteering at the age of 16 while her mum was a social worker.

She said: "I helped my mum out and was always interested in caring for people."

Described by family and friends as a 'long-serving and completely selfless volunteer', she has shown the utmost determination to improve lives.

The 68-year-old has been a governor at Chaigeley School in Thelwall for many years, which helps children with social, emotional and mental health problems.

Warrington Guardian: Kay Bohm, from Padgate Kay Bohm, from Padgate

Last December, she was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer but after a year of treatment and operations, her cancer is now considered curable.

Kay said: "The award could not have come at a better time really.

"I've just had the good news that the chemotherapy has worked and the bowel cancer has gone. I just have a couple of spots on my lungs and liver to treat.

"Due to the cancer treatment, I had to take a step back from volunteering but my family and friends have been amazing and I was determined to meet my new grandson Bobby.

"I was so shocked to receive the letter in the post to say I had been honoured with an MBE.

"I don't really talk about my work much, I just get on with it and love it so much.

"I'm so grateful to everyone who has supported me over the years."

Kay volunteered for community service on the wards at Winwick Hospital before joining the Voluntary Services Overseas where she was stationed in Africa aged 18.

This followed her years at university, studying to be a teacher.

Kay spent three years in Kenya working at a school with refugees.

She then moved to Germany where she met her first husband and together they had three children.

Tragically, he died in an accident leaving Kay with three young children under the age of seven.

Kay moved back to England with her family and began working as a teacher for children with special needs in St Helens.

She said: "I have worked with challenging children all of my life and while I was in St Helens in the 1990s, the opportunity to teach in Uganda came up so I applied for it."

Warrington Guardian: Kay was shocked to receive the award Kay was shocked to receive the award

The unpaid teaching role in a Ugandan school meant working with many children orphaned by the war in the Congo.

After returning to the UK, she continued working on setting up links between the UK and Uganda, before returning to Uganda the following year to set up teacher training.

On this visit, she forged links with Kamarasi Primary School and worked with regional administrators on curriculum development and teacher retention.

Kay continues to raise money to fund the salaries of two full-time specialist teachers at Kamarasi School to support children who are blind or have specialist needs, and organises fundraising events to support women’s groups in Uganda by selling necklaces and other produce made by the women.

She said: "I watched a PE lesson they taught, and a blind child was partnered with a deaf child.

"They worked together using their hearing and sight, it was unbelievable to see."

In addition to teaching in the UK and Africa, Kay has also worked at Risley Prison for 30 years, helping vulnerable inmates.

Kay initially volunteered at the prison on the Board of Visitors and set up a Quaker group for mums with babies to have unsupervised visits with their children in the Quaker chapel.

She was then employed by the chaplaincy team, providing support and guidance for prisoners and their families. 

Before her diagnosis, she was also a volunteer at Warrington's homeless shelter Room at the Inn, where she provided practical support, sleeping over at least once a week.

She promotes fundraising by organising charity nights and speaking at events such as the National Women’s Register to highlight the need for toiletries, bedding and cleaning materials.

Former Warrington Wolves forward Mike Nicholas has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for his services to rugby league in Wales.

Mike, 73, who has lived in Warrington since joining The Wire in 1972, is currently president of Wales Rugby League, but continues to passionately support the game in his adopted hometown too – particularly in junior development.

Warrington Guardian: Mike NicholasMike Nicholas

“This is a really proud day for myself, my family and for the game of rugby league. My parents would have been so proud of this,” said Port Talbot-born Mike, who is married to Jennifer and has sons Christopher and Morgan, daughter Evie and grandchildren Carter, 6, and Kyan, 1.

“I don’t do my work in rugby league for recognition, but it’s nice to be rewarded in this way nonetheless. It’s a reassurance to know sometimes that people think that I’m doing the right thing.

“I’m president of Wales Rugby League, but even if didn’t have an official position, I’d still be promoting rugby league because of the passion I have for it.

“I have a personal crusade, a gospel according to Nicko if you like.

“It’s my life, my raison d’etre, even from when I was young. I enjoyed watching Billy Boston and other Welsh players at Wembley.

“I’ve always felt comfortable in rugby league and I’ll contribute whatever I can, as I love the game that much and I think it’s often unjustly treated.

“I’ll always be here to stand up for rugby league as it’s a great game. Everyone who plays it respects the game and it should be flourishing at Welsh and international level.

“I enjoy what I do now, helping out in North Wales, still visiting people in the south, plus I help out at Warrington Wolves with the foundation and I like to teach the young players the history of the club, showing youngsters their “Wall of Fame” to let them know what they can achieve.”

Warrington Guardian: Former Wire forward, Mike Nicholas Former Wire forward, Mike Nicholas

Known to almost everyone as ‘Nicko’, he turned out for three rugby union clubs in Aberavon, the Harlequins, Green Stars and Wizards, before signing professional forms with Warrington in 1972 where he made 142 appearances, a number of them as captain.

He won six caps for Wales, all of them in the European Championship, before finishing his playing career at the Blue Dragons.

Mike has been actively involved behind the scenes for rugby league in Wales since 1981 when, alongside another former international player Dai Watkins, he helped set up Cardiff City Blue Dragons.

He became team manager for Wales Students RL in 1989, before having that role for the full Wales men’s side between 1993 and 2000.

He founded South Wales RLFC in 1996 in the first season of summer rugby league and became WRL president in 2003, helping to set up the Welsh domestic competition that still runs today, and assisted in the establishment of three of the clubs – Torfaen Tigers, Bridgend Blue Bulls and Aberavon Fighting Irish.

He is still the honorary president of the Bridgend club.

In 2005, he was a co-founder of Celtic Crusaders and helped bring in backers to the club in its early days and he also sat on the board of South Wales Scorpions in their early days.

Mike, a Warrington Wolves Hall of Fame inductee, was added to the RFL’s role of honour in 2012 for his outstanding service to the game, while he was inducted into the WRL Hall of Fame in 2017.