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New Year Honours for Catz alumni

Tuesday 17 January 2023

 

The St Catharine’s community is celebrating the inclusion of two alumni in the King’s New Year Honours list:

  • Dr John Benger (1979, English) was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) for services to Parliament; and
  • Ian Metcalfe (1977, Law) was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to Sport.

Professor Sir Mark Welland (2016), Master of St Catharine’s, commented:

“Everyone at St Catharine’s takes great pride in the careers that our alumni forge after graduation and the wide range of ways they serve communities around the world. 2022 was a remarkable year for both Sir John and Ian as they led their respective teams in the most challenging of circumstances and under intense scrutiny. On behalf of the College community, I applaud them on their well-deserved honours and service to the United Kingdom.”

Sir John Benger and Ian Metcalfe OBE
Sir John Benger and Ian Metcalfe OBE

Sir John Benger

Since joining the House of Commons Service in 1986, Sir John has been Clerk to a number of Select Committees and worked in a number of procedural teams. In 2019, he was appointed by the Crown as Clerk of the House of Commons, the chief adviser to the House on matters of parliamentary procedure, privilege and broader constitutional issues. His knighthood recognises the unprecedented procedural, logistical and human challenges faced by the House in recent years, and how he and his team emerged from the Brexit debates with their reputation for impartial and expert advice enhanced. He also led Parliament through and out of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing the strategic direction for this work, enabling the House to continue to function effectively.

As Clerk, Sir John ensured that the House agreed to the recommendation that judgements and sanctions in relation to complaints of bullying and harassment should be completely independent of MPs despite significant opposition – a recent survey reports that staff confidence improved dramatically. He introduced a direct graduate recruitment scheme with BME representation rising from two in the previous 15 years, to eight recruited in three years, with candidates of the highest calibre.

Sir John said, “I am humbled to be recognised by this award and know how much I am indebted to all my talented colleagues in Parliament. It has been an extraordinary time to be Clerk, through the fierce Brexit debates and then all the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has provided, but it has also been both stimulating and rewarding.”

Ian Metcalfe OBE

Ian’s contributions to sport include over 20 years on the Committee at Warwickshire County Cricket Club and 14 years as the University of Cambridge’s representative at the Rugby Football Union (RFU). Most recently he served as Chair of Commonwealth Games England, as a director on the Board of the Organising Committee of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and as the Host city representative on the Commonwealth Games Federation Executive Board.

Ian is a qualified solicitor who retired from international law firm Wragge & Co in 2014, where he had been in post as managing partner for eight years and a corporate partner for 14 years. He joined Mercia Asset Management PLC in 2014 as a Non-executive Director and has served as Non-executive Chair since 2019. He has recently stepped down as a non-executive director of the global waste management group TRRG Holdings Ltd and a non-executive director of the AIM listed Arena Events Group plc.

Ian said, “It is a real privilege to receive this OBE on behalf of all the teams and family members who supported my involvement with sport over the years. I shall always be grateful to Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club (CURUFC) for giving me the opportunity to represent Cambridge on the Council of the RFU. This led to nine years on the RFU Board, five as Chair of the RFU’s Professional Game Board, and a non-executive role on the Board of ER 2015, the organising committee of the Rugby World Cup in 2015. I imagine this service was being recognised with this New Year Honour, perhaps alongside my involvement with Commonwealth Games England and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. My journey with CURUFC began at Catz – highlights include winning two Cuppers finals with the College rugby team ­– and I hope everyone at the College, especially in the sports teams, will feel able to bask in the reflected glory of a Catz alumnus being honoured in this way.”

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