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Estuary Envoy, Kate Willard receives OBE

5th May 2022

Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board, Kate Willard, received her OBE from Prince William, Duke of Cambridge at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace this week. Kate, the Thames Estuary Envoy, was recognised for her contribution to Transport and the Economy.

Commenting on the honour, Kate said: “This is an amazing honour. I love my work helping to make good stuff happen. And best bits are always the amazing businesses and dedicated, talented and passionate people you get to work with. And I’m genuinely lucky enough to work – and to have worked – with some of the nicest and best.

“I understand this honour recognises my services to Transport and the Economy. But nothing comes without teams, so I’d like to thank and acknowledge all those fabulous people who I have had the privilege to work with and who themselves work so hard and so tirelessly with to help make good stuff happen. Thank you all. I share this terrific privilege with you.”

Since December 2019, Kate has been the driving force behind ambitious plans to transform the Thames Estuary. As Thames Estuary Envoy and Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board she is overseeing plans to add £190 billion to the UK economy by 2050.

Kate trained as an actress, first starting at drama college in Bexley, and then served a traditional apprenticeship at the famous Theatre Royal, Stratford East. She is passionate about the arts and an expert on the role of creative industries as a catalyst for growth.

Kate has lived and worked in Hungary, France and Belgium working as an independent regeneration expert with the European Commission on major transnational projects in employment, social cohesion and regional development.

Kate was CEO of the UK’s first rural regeneration company, Rural Regeneration Cumbria, and was also responsible for re-launching commercial services from Carlisle Lake District Airport for the first time in over 25 years.

Kate has a number of non-executive roles, including Chair of Teesside International Airport and Arts Council North and also sits on the Arts Council’s National Council. She has recently been appointed to the National Infrastructure Commission.

Kate was awarded the OBE in 2020 but due to the global pandemic received the honour in person on 4 May 2022.