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Spirit Chief Executive Debbie Lye receives OBE in Queen’s birthday honours

Spirit Chief Executive Debbie Lye receives OBE in Queen’s birthday honours

We are incredibly proud to announce that our Chief Executive, Debbie Lye, has been awarded the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year.

The award recognises Debbie’s service to community projects throughout her career.

Debbie took on the role of founding Chief Executive at Spirit in 2013, after spearheading the design and delivery of the London 2012 international sport and social legacy programme, which reached 25 million children and young people in 20 countries worldwide. 

Under Debbie’s innovative leadership, Spirit has engaged with some of the most challenging social problems of our time: tackling inactivity, social isolation and deprivation; breaking down the barriers that limit the lives of those with disabilities; countering the disenfranchisement of young people; and uniting fractured communities.

Debbie’s visionary leadership and partnership working has seen 2.8m people in the UK benefit as a result, including an army of 40,000 volunteers.

Her passion for fair play, her insight, good judgement and management skills have ensured that the Trust has fulfilled and exceeded all my original expectations.

Pete Ainsworth, UK Chair of the National Lottery Community Fund (formerly Big Lottery), which established the Spirit of 2012 Trust

Bill Morris LVO, who has known Debbie professionally for 12 years, said she is “highly principled and dedicated to driving public good through all her projects and this shone out to her colleagues, those she led and those she influenced. She has been a role model and a beacon to many.”

Peter Ainsworth, UK Chair of the National Lottery Community Fund (formerly Big Lottery), which established the Spirit of 2012 Trust, said: “Under her direction the Trust has distributed funds to sporting, cultural and social causes involving the young, the old, volunteers and people with disabilities.

"These have been life-changing investments for many thousands of people. Her passion for fair play, her insight, good judgement and management skills have ensured that the Trust has fulfilled and exceeded all my original expectations.”

Baroness Sue Campbell, CBE said “Debbie is the ultimate professional who has dedicated her career to ensuring that all young people receive life skills and opportunities to become the best they can be, whatever their circumstances. Her dedication has touched the lives of so many young people.”

Spirit’s staff and Board, as well as the wider Spirit ‘family’ of grantees, volunteers, community organisers and government bodies were swift to congratulate Debbie on her achievement.

Debbie was also delighted that her daughter Amanda McLoughlin received her own honour on the same day: Amanda was been awarded her OBE for her exceptional leadership and support for the UK Government during humanitarian crises.

A mother and daughter double!