Lee Hallam was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for his ‘inspirational industry leadership, philanthropy, and being a tireless champion of the disadvantaged’.  

Describing himself as a former ‘teenage tearaway’ from a disadvantaged estate, at 16, Lee joined The Royal Marines, going on to win the coveted Green Beret.

Having trained and employed hundreds of service personnel, many of whom were seriously injured during fierce combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, Lee has spearheaded military resettlement programmes, launched local apprenticeship programmes, supported disadvantaged children, and raised hundreds of thousands for charities.

He launched Linbrooke Services in 2002 with his friend, Andrew Wilson, from a small bedsit in Greenhill, which has since become a successful SME employing more than 350 people and improving the lives of local and national individuals and communities through employment and rehabilitation, restoring hope and self-belief.

Joseph Dunn, Lee’s retired headteacher, nominated him for an OBE.

He said: “Having taught for 34 years, I have engaged with thousands of children and still have contacts in the education sector across the country, but I have yet to learn of an individual who has turned his life around and made such an impact quite like Lee.

“Leaving school with no qualifications and a juvenile criminal record, Lee is now hailed as a ‘Face of the Vibrant Economy.’ Lee said: ”I don’t have an education, any GCSEs or degree, but I went to the University of Parson Cross. Coming off that estate gives you spirit, character and a thirst for survival. Education will get you far, but drive and determination will take you all the way.”

Having been instrumental in building Linbrooke, and put in place a new management team, Lee has recently stepped back from the Board in order to focus more time on his charitable interests and supporting those in need in and around South Yorkshire.