A Suffolk police volunteer has spoken of his "pride and honour" on receiving the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to policing in the New Year’s Honours. 

Eric Hopes, 90, is still actively involved with the Suffolk Constabulary Museum at the force’s HQ at Martlesham, having started in policing more than 70 years ago as a 17-year-old cadet. 

His current role sees him researching the history of the different objects in the museum and writing and laminating the labels explaining the exhibits, while he also leads guided tours of the displays for school groups, rotary clubs, scouts and brownies. 

He also responds to enquiries for information about relatives who served in the police. 

He said: “I am very proud and honoured to receive it for the work I have done and am still doing. I can’t quite get over it, to be honest.” 

The Bury St Edmunds man has a family history of service to the police, which includes his grandfather John Hopes, who was an inspector and his superintendent father Stanley Hopes. 

Mr Hopes himself was also a superintendent in Suffolk, having completed national service with the Royal Military Police when he spent time in Cyprus and central Africa. 

Having retired in 1988, he re-joined Suffolk Police as a firearms licensing officer 10 years later, before volunteering for a time with Ipswich-based charity St Elizabeth Hospice and then returning to volunteer at the museum seven years ago. 

The grandfather-of-two was working for the police when the coronation took place for the late Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953. 

He carries out much of his museum work from home, but visits the Martlesham HQ two or three times over a two-week period. 

Mr Hopes, who was a pupil at the then Bungay Grammar School, still finds considerable fulfilment in his role. 

“I wouldn’t want to miss it for a day and while I have got my good health, I shall carry on. I still find it fulfilling when I live on my own and when you get to this age, you are looking for something to keep you busy, both mentally and physically,” he said.