A long-serving Wolverhampton councillor has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List. Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, was recognised for political service and services to local government. Councillor Samuels, who worked for the NHS for nearly four decades until retiring recently, was first elected to the council as Labour councillor for Park ward in 2004.

She was subsequently elected to serve the Ettingshall ward following a by-election in 2009. She also stood for Parliamentary in North Shropshire in 2005, and before that had represented West Midlands constituencies on the National Policy Forum, the policy-making body of Government.

Today, she is a member of the council’s Cabinet, Cabinet Resources and Performance Management panels, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board and chair of governors at Windsor Children and Family Centre.

In addition, she has been a community activist for around 30 years, promoting social justice, equality and community cohesion, and setting up the Heritage Centre, an African Caribbean community hub on Clifford Street, Whitmore Reans, three years.

As Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Samuels has also championed Wolverhampton’s fight against obesity, launched last year with a Call to Action to residents, businesses and other groups to come together to tackle the problem in the city.

During her time with the NHS, Councillor Samuels spend 20 years as a senior nurse, working in heart and lung and neurosurgical theatres.

Councillor Samuels said: "I was amazed to receive a letter saying that I have been awarded the OBE – I had no idea I had even been nominated and so it has come as a complete shock.

"It is a huge honour and I am very humbled, but at the same time also incredibly proud that the work that I – and my fellow councillors – do for our wonderful city has been recognised in this way.”

Councillor Samuels, who has been married to husband Karl for 34 years, added: “I love Wolverhampton and have always felt proud of what the city has achieved over the years.”

Councillor Roger Lawrence, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "I would like to congratulate Councillor Samuels on this award, which is recognition of her service to politics and local government over the years. We are delighted for her.”

The New Year’s Honours List is published annually on 31 December in recognition of the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people right across the United Kingdom.

People awarded an honour receive their award personally from The Queen or a member of the Royal Family at an investiture ceremony.