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George wrigley

The University of Birmingham’s Head of Security and Emergency Planning, George Wrigley, has been awarded the MBE for services to higher education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The award was made ‘for services to education and research by ensuring that critical campus activity operations were safely and securely maintained during the Covid-19 pandemic’.

A former long-serving police officer, Mr Wrigley progressed through the ranks to become an Area Commander, on retirement going on to head security operations at the Natural History Museum in London before joining the University. His extensive career experience was described as crucial in developing safe and efficient campus operations strategy during the pandemic, enabling the University to play a pivotal role in supporting the City of Birmingham, NHS partners and the national research response by ensuring that essential services were maintained and a secure campus could operate with minimal staff.

He also personally supported the collection and delivery of over 40,000 items of PPE across Birmingham and oversaw the welfare of 1,400 young people unable to leave halls of residence due to travel restrictions, being care leavers or self-isolating.

On hearing news of his award, Mr Wrigley said:  ‘I am completely overwhelmed that people I have worked with on the pandemic have seen fit to recommend me for a “gong”.

Paying tribute to key operational managers in Professional Services and the University’s Colleges, as well as senior managers, whom he said all worked in partnership to maintain buildings and key services in the ‘engine room’ of the institution’s Covid response, he emphasised that he felt his colleagues should share credit for the honour.

Mr Wrigley made special mention of the UOB Security Team, which he said had been ever present, working 24/7 to deal with short-notice change and very different demands, and being reliable and resilient always. He added: “I am immensely proud of them all for what they have done to keep Campus safe and secure.

‘I accept this honour on behalf of all the above and many more  - we have worked together, in partnership, and with a simple aim of making sure the University continues to do what it does best, “making important things happen”.’

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