FORMER Ilkley Grammar School student Dr Anna Dixon has been awarded an MBE for services to wellbeing in later life in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Now Chief Executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, she led Ageing Better’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing expert advice and evidence to government and others to support responsive policy making, with a key focus on the growing number of older workers at risk of falling out of work prematurely before they can afford to retire.

Anna has made a significant contribution to the government’s strategic focus on ageing in particular through support for the Industrial Strategy Ageing Grand Challenge.

Her influence helped secure a government commitment to the mission of ensuring ‘people can enjoy five extra healthy, independent years of life by 2035, whilst narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and poorest’.

As part of this she championed the idea of stimulating economic growth by developing markets for products and services that enable people to remain healthy, active and independent for longer, and helped to shape the Healthy Ageing Challenge Fund.

Last year she published her book ‘The Age of Ageing Better? A Manifesto For Our Future’, aimed at helping policy makers and practitioners to make the radical changes needed to ensure that no one misses out on a good later life.

She said: “I am delighted and incredibly proud to receive this award.

“The UK’s population is undergoing a massive age shift, which has implications for every aspect of our lives and requires us all to think and act differently.

“This has been my driving passion for many years now and is an issue made more urgent by COVID-19, which looks set to increase the gap between those who can expect to enjoy later life and those who will struggle through it.

“In the coming years I look forward to continuing to work with colleagues at the Centre for Ageing Better, in local and national government, and across the public and private sectors to bring about the changes needed to ensure that we can all live healthier, fuller and more connected later lives.”