All members of the Birlinn team are truly delighted to report that two of our authors have been made Officers of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, 2020 list.
Mary Contini, OBE
Mary Contini, author and director of Valvona & Crolla, has been awarded an OBE for ‘services to the Scottish food industry and Scottish-Italian relations’.
The grand-daughter of Italian immigrants, Mary grew up in East Lothian above her family’s Italian cafe. She is the bestselling author of Dear Alfonso: An Italian Feast of Love and Laughter, recounting the life story of her father-in-law, Carlo Contini. Heart-warming, moving and filled with laughter and love, Dear Alfonso is a wonderful celebration of food, family and friendship. Previous books by Mary about Italian life and cooking including Dear Francesca, Dear Olivia, Valvona & Crolla: A Year at an Italian Table and The Italian Sausage Bible. She is a Director of Valvona & Crolla, the renowned Edinburgh delicatessen, restaurant and cookery school, established in 1934 by her grandfather.
With Pru Irvine, Mary is also the author of Easy Peasy: Real Cooking for Kids which has inspired generations to cook modern recipes and firm family favourites together with confidence and eat well as a result.
It is a great surprise and joy for me to have been put forward and to be receiving such an honour. I am completely overwhelmed. My thanks go to those who nominated me and especially to my family and colleagues for all their support of my endeavours and especially to Philip, my husband, for his encouragement and wisdom.”
Steve Haake, OBE
Steve Haake is Professor of Sports Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University. He was awarded an OBE for services to sport in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He is currently the Chair of the Active Travel Advisory Board for the Sheffield City Region, working with the Active Travel Commissioner, Dame Sarah Storey and Programme Director Pete Zanzottera on setting up and promoting walking, running and cycling in the region.
He is also Chair of the parkrun Research Board, the research arm of the organisation that puts on free, weekly, timed runs every Saturday morning at 9 am (slightly different times in some areas and on a Sunday for junior parkrun).
Some two decades ago he established sports engineering as a global discipline, becoming the founding editor of its first journal and building up at the University of Sheffield the world’s largest academic research group in the field, working with companies such as Adidas, Puma, Callaway Golf and Ping, as well as the governing bodies of sport such as FIFA, the International Tennis Federation and UK Sport. Since 2008, his team has developed around 100 performance-analysis systems for the UK’s Olympic teams, supporting them to over 60 medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016. He has published six edited books of conference proceedings, authored more than 200 journal papers and written articles for magazines such as New Scientist and Physics World. He gives regular popular talks and has appeared frequently on television and radio. In 2014, Research Councils UK identified him as one of the 10 most inspirational scientists in the UK.
Steve Haake said:
Over the weekend, I’ve heard of a few definitions of OBE: “Oh Bloody ‘Ell” and “Other Bugger’s Efforts“. I think the latter is probably the closest – you don’t get an award like this on you own, there are many people who have helped you get there: Amanda, who was the first person I worked with and is still going strong; Simon, the hardest working person I know who still impresses with his knowledge of all things engineering; Terry, who can make anything mechanical and make it look nice; Ben, who has an answer to almost any question and is right 99.9% of the time. There are so many others:
Thanks guys -“Our Best Efforts”.
Steve’s first solo book was published by Arena Sport: Advantage Play: Technologies that changed Sporting History.