Safeguarding champion among Christians on New Year Honours List

David Pearson, founder of Thirtyone:Eight

David Pearson, the former CEO of independent Christian safeguarding charity Thirtyone:eight, has received an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List.

Pearson founded the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) 40 years ago, with the charity changing its name in 2018 to Thirtyone:eight.

The new name was inspired by Proverbs 31:8, which calls on believers to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves" and "defend the rights of the poor and needy". 

He was CEO of Thirtyone:eight until his retirement in 2010 but remained a Company Secretary and Trustee until 2019. 

During his time at the charity, he created the first safeguarding manual specifically for churches and in 1990, launched the first safeguarding helpline dedicated to faith-based organisations, which to date has responded to over 140,000 calls. 

The charity's beginnings were humble, at one point being run by Pearson from a caravan on his driveway. Today, it has a team of over 50 people and engages with a network of over 10,000 organisations nationally and internationally. 

Recent investigations conducted by the charity include an independent learning review for The Crowded House, Sheffield. Its independent culture review into the Titus Trust is ongoing. 

Commenting on his MBE, Pearson said: "I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the exceptional people from whom I have learnt so much - survivors of abuse who bravely shared their pain; the untiring efforts of leaders and workers with children and adults in churches and organisations; my Thirtyone:eight colleagues, over four decades since I birthed the charity; to my family who have stood and worked with me throughout and with thankfulness, above all else, to God."

Other Christians to receive an MBE were Helen Elizabeth McHugh for services to education and to the Methodist Church in Northern Ireland; Rev Remelda Carey for services to the community; and Rev David John Goronwy Evans for services to charity and to the community in Lampeter, West Wales.

The head of Christian Aid's humanitarian division Nick Guttmann received an OBE.