Roman expert honoured with award

OBE ... for archaeologist Paul Bidwell.
OBE ... for archaeologist Paul Bidwell.

AN archaeologist who has helped promote an historic South Tyneside attraction has been honoured with an OBE.

Paul Bidwell has led significant excavations at Arbeia Roman fort in Baring Street, South Shields.

Mr Bidwell, who has lived in North Shields for the last 10 years, also wrote the standard guide to the site.

He and his team were honoured when the fort took the title of Best Archaeological Research Project, at the 2009 Current Archaeology Awards.

Born in Southampton, the 62-year-old trained at Exeter University, and moved to the North East more than 30 years ago.

Having been head of archaeology at Tyne and Wear Museums for more than 20 years, he is an expert in Roman archaeology and potter.

He has recently been appointed to a consultancy for the management, display and investigation of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.

Mr Bidwell, who had to keep news of his OBE secret for six weeks, said: “I was completely surprised – I had no idea I had been put in for it – but I was obviously delighted.”

Also receiving honours was Trevor Mann, senior vice-president for manufacturing with Nissan. Mr Mann was made a CBE.

Vice-chancellor of Sunderland University Professor Peter Fidler now has a CBE to go with his MBE, after being honoured for services to higher education.