• Alumni
Order of the British Empire recipients revisited: former students' remarkable achievements

The Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry established by King George V in 1917 during World War I; Its primary purpose to acknowledge and honour individuals who have made substantial contributions to society, culture and the nation. Awards are bestowed upon individuals from various fields, including sport, sciences, public services, the arts and many more. The awards are typically announced twice a year: in the New Year Honours List and the Birthday Honours List. 

Since the school was founded in 1935, Millfield has devoted many years of educational support, empowering each individual to reach their full potential. As we continue this mission, we thought we’d reflect on a few alumni who have excelled in their respective fields, earning themselves one of these prestigious honours. 


MBE: An MBE stands for ‘Member of the Order of the British Empire’ and is awarded to someone for making a positive impact in their line of work. Recipients are granted the title of ‘Member’ and can use the post-nominal letters ‘MBE’ after their name. 

Edward Chudleigh MBE (1993-1996; Shapwick) Edward is an Artist, Engineer, Pilot and Inventor. He is a member of the Bath Society of Artists and has exhibited at private and national galleries.  

Edward recently created a machine learning robot called ‘Genesis2™’, which is the only machine of its kind that can take all types of mixed plastics together without sorting them and transform them into a new material; ‘Plastain™. Edward also invented a medical grade face shield for those working on the COVID-19 front-lines at the very start of the Pandemic. He employed the help of hundreds of local volunteers to make up to 7,000 Shields a day for use in hospitals and care homes across the country. His not-for-profit company, Foldall Face Shields, have now delivered over 80,000 Shields to medical teams. This achievement led him to being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2021. 


James Guy MBE (2008*-2014; Great) James is a competitive swimmer who specialises in freestyle and butterfly, and has won multiple gold medals at each of the major international meets available to him. He has progressed from starting right at the very beginning of the sport, racing at Somerset County Championships to being a double Olympic Gold medallist and world record holder. In 2022, James was awarded an MBE on the New Year's Honours list for his services to swimming. 


OBE: ‘Officer of the Order of the British Empire’, is another one of the ranks within the Order of the British Empire. The OBE is one rank higher than the MBE and is one of the mid-tier ranks within the order. 

Eileen Rees OBE (1970-74; Southfield) From 1994 to 2001, Eileen was chair of the Wetlands International/IUCNSSC Swan Specialist Group, returning to this role from 2014 onwards. In addition to a book (a Poyser monograph) entitled ‘Bewick’s Swan’, she has published over 150 scientific papers and major reports on the behaviour, ecology and dynamics of waterbirds (primarily migratory swans and geese), with a particular interest in factors affecting their population trends, distribution and feeding ecology. 

She has been editor-in-chief of the scientific journal ‘Wildfowl’ since 2006 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in June 2022 for her services to international research and the conservation of swans, and other waterbirds. 


Jenny Barraclough OBE (1954-55; Billet) Jenny is a British film and television producer, primarily known for her work in television documentaries. In addition to her production career, she has actively contributed to several trusts and charities.  

In 2001, Jenny produced the influential program ‘The New Face of Leprosy’, reaching 27 million viewers on BBC World and many more through national networks and educational groups. As a board member of LEPRA, she helped make crucial decisions on leprosy, TB, and AIDS treatment across three continents and created fundraising films. In 2007, she became Chairman, overseeing a charity with a £12 million annual income and 4,500 employees worldwide, working closely with the CEO.  

In 2009, Jenny was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to Documentary Film Making. 


CBE: CBE stands for ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’. The CBE is one rank higher than the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) and is considered one of the higher ranks within the order, with ranks above it including KBE (Knight Commander), DBE (Dame Commander), and GBE (Knight Grand Cross). 

Peter Openshaw CBE (1962*-1973; Day) Peter is a Professor of Experimental Medicine, studying how the immune system both protects against viral infection but also causes disease.   

His impact has been significant, including during the covid pandemic where his visionary approach delivered life-changing research programmes, his sound advice informed government policy-making and his strong leadership inspired researchers in their endeavours as well as providing reassurance to the public. 

In 2022, Peter was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours list in recognition of his services to Medicine and Immunology.   

Peter says, “I am so pleased about this award which recognises not just my work, but the fantastic teams with whom I have had the privilege of working over many years. I hope this award will bring yet more attention to the fascinating and important field of immunology and will be used to celebrate its excitement and many successes.” 


Dame Vivienne Cox CBE (1975-77; Great) Dame Vivienne worked for BP plc for 28 years in Britain and continental Europe, in posts including Executive Vice President and Chief Executive of BP’s gas, power and renewable business where she created the alternative energy unit. 

She is Vice Chair of Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, Patron of the Hospice of St Francis, Chair of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, Honorary Secretary of the Energy Institute and an Advisory Board member to the Royal Academy of Engineering and African Leadership Institute. 

Vivienne was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2022 for services to sustainability and to diversity and inclusion in business.


Major General Michael Charlton-Weedy CBE DL (1963-68; Walton) Major-General Michael Charlton-Weedy, CBE DL, is a retired Army officer and senior civil servant. He was commissioned into the Royal Artillery from RMA Sandhurst in 1971. 

Michael has a distinguished career spanning several decades. He held notable positions in the Royal Artillery, including Commanding Officer of the 4th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.  

After leaving the Army in 2003, he served as Chief Executive of the Emergency Planning College, overseeing its privatization in 2010. He later became the Director of UK Resilience Training in the Cabinet Office until his semi-retirement in 2017, with full retirement in May 2019. He also holds important roles as Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and County President of the Royal British Legion for North and East Yorkshire. 

Throughout his career he has achieved significant milestones and received awards such as an OBE and CBE for his outstanding service.