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Many well deserved congratulations to our Trustee, Councillor Judith Blake, who has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Judith was elected as the first female leader of Leeds City Council in 2015 and is a staunch advocate for arts and culture in the city. She is the Deputy Chair of the Leeds 2023 European Capital of Culture Bid, and Chair of the Core Cities Group.

Since becoming leader of the council in 2015, Judith has also worked to ensure Leeds hosts a programme of world class events to enhance the city’s profile and strengthen the local economy.

Councillor Jane Dowson, Lord Mayor of Leeds, said: “Councillor Blake has represented the people and city of Leeds at a local, national and international level for more than 20 years and this award is thoroughly deserved.

“During her time both as a councillor and council leader we have taken massive strides forward in the way we care for children and young people as well as seeing a huge boost in our city’s international profile and a string of major development projects which have been nothing short of transformative for the city”.

Further congratulations to Sir Mark Elder who has been awarded the Companion of Honour. Sir Mark has been a long-time friend of the Competition, conducting The Hallé Orchestra in the previous five Competition finals.

The Companion of Honour is a special award granted to those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine, or government lasting over a long period of time. The members, of whom there are only 65 at any one time, currently include actress Dame Maggie Smith, Lord Coe, Stephen Hawking, John Major and Desmond Tutu.