A man who leads a family business which became a world-leading pioneer in the field of cancer treatment has been awarded an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours.

Richard Paxman is chief executive officer of Fenay Bridge-based Paxman Coolers, a company inspired by his mum’s hair loss journey during cancer treatment.

The company, founded by Richard’s dad Glenn, is now globally recognised for its scalp cooling technology and is in 60 markets across the world.

Richard, 40, who is married to Dan and has a son Rory, five, was awarded the OBE for services to international trade in the King’s first Birthday Honours List.

Richard said: “It’s an incredible honour and something we’re very proud of. Even though it’s about six weeks ago since I received the letter I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet.

“While I’m very proud, it’s not a recognition for just one person. It’s a recognition for the whole team and the family. My husband Dan is incredibly proud and without his support I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.”

Other people from Huddersfield who received honours were Sue Taylor, vice-president of the Rugby Football League, who received the MBE for services to rugby league, and Lynva Russell, a trustee of Honley-based River Holme Connections, who received a BEM for services to the environment.

Richard Paxman (fourth from the left) with the senior management team at Paxman

Paxman Cooling was founded in 1997 when Richard’s mum Sue lost her hair during chemotherapy treatment.

His dad Glenn, with a family background in the refrigeration industry, realised that there were shortcomings in scalp cooling methods and devised a liquid-based system with a cold cap worn by patients to prevent hair loss, one of the most distressing side effects of treatment.

Richard joined the company in around 2009 and was operations director before becoming CEO eight years ago. The company has grown significantly in the last five years and now has an annual turnover of over £14 million and employs 80 staff.

In 2019 Paxman signed a £1 million five-year agreement with the University of Huddersfield to establish the world’s first scalp cooling and research development centre.

Richard is passionate about international trade and promoting the UK overseas. He is a Northern Powerhouse export champion and works closely with the Department for Business and Trade.

Around 85-90% of the company’s business is export and Richard added: “I’m so passionate about export and building the confidence of small businesses, in particular, to see what services are out there. I want to motivate businesses around exports as there is much more UK companies can do.”

Sue Taylor

Also celebrating an award was Sue Taylor, 66, of Beaumont Park, who is vice-president of the RFL and chair of the Huddersfield-based British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA).

Sue met her husband John through the Underbank club in Holmfirth in the 1970s and served as secretary for several grassroots clubs including St Joseph’s and Newsome Magpies, now known as Newsome Panthers.

She later got involved in administration of the wider sport through BARLA and became the first woman chair in 2013, a post she still holds.

Last year – World Cup year – Sue was appointed to her role at the RFL, an honorary position she will hold until December 2023.

Also last year Sue’s name was added to the RFL’s Roll of Honour, along with several other women recognised for their outstanding contribution to the game. Read more about that HERE.

Sue said: “For once in my life – and no-one who knows me will believe me – I was speechless when I received the letter and opened it!

“The first thing I thought was that they had sent it to the wrong address when it said I had been awarded the MBE. I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of the amateur game.”

BARLA vice-chairman Steve Manning congratulated Sue and said: “It tops an amazing 12 months in her busy life.

“Sue has held numerous positions in the amateur game and has been involved as an unpaid volunteer for 50 years. Sue puts 200% dedication into the cause.”

RFL chairman Simon Johnson added: “Sue is the ultimate unsung hero.”

Also celebrating is environmentalist and charity worker Lynva Russell, 66, of Holmfirth, who has been awarded the BEM for her environmental work.

Lynva had a 20-year career in the world of industrial chemicals, including for Holliday Dyes and Chemicals in Huddersfield. That was followed by 15 years working for, or with, a number of social enterprises and charities.

Lynva, one of the founders of River Holme Connections, says her BEM is a reward for the work of the dozens of volunteers (above) in the Honley-based environmental charity.

River Holme Connections was set up in 2015 to improve the 55km of the river and its tributaries, banks and surroundings.

The charity now has a network of around 100 volunteers helping transform the river and its environs. Almost 70,000 trees have been planted; 10,000 wildflower plug plants have been planted; £150,000 has been spent on footpath improvements; and 1,600 bags of rubbish have been removed.

River Holme Connections works with 18 schools and works in partnership with Kirklees Council, parish councils, community groups, the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and others.

Lynva said: “My family are thrilled and I am very proud and still a little shocked. I didn’t expect this at all.

“The honour isn’t just for me, however, it’s for River Holme Connections and all our volunteers who are out in horizontal rain or burning sun, re-wilding, creating meadows and wetlands, putting up bird boxes or delivering leaflets.”

Lynva is also a trustee of The Loose Change Charity where members pay £1 a week to support good causes in Huddersfield.

Other local recipients in the King’s Birthday Honours include Nicky Chance-Thompson, chief executive of the Piece Hall Trust in Halifax, who receives the MBE for services to culture and heritage; head teacher Rizwana Mahmood-Ahmed, of Carlton Junior and Infant School in Dewsbury; Mich Dearman, of Upper Hopton, Mirfield, honorary vice-president of Wooden Spoon, a children’s rugby charity, who receives an MBE for services to young people; and Anthony Atherton, of Dewsbury, honoured with an OBE for services to disability sport and inclusion.