West Suffolk stalwarts honoured

By Dave Gooderham and Patrick LowmanA PENSIONER who has spent more than half a century serving the village where he was born is celebrating today after he was awarded the MBE.

By Dave Gooderham and Patrick Lowman

A PENSIONER who has spent more than half a century serving the village where he was born is celebrating today after he was awarded the MBE.

Cecil Hughes, 79, from Boxford, was given the honour for his services to the community where he has lived all his life.

Mr Hughes, a retired builder, is currently serving in his 54th year on Boxford Parish Council – he joined the authority in 1952.

He said one of his biggest achievements was successfully campaigning for a bypass around the village, which was built in the late 1970s.

Mr Hughes had been battling for the relief road for more than two decades. He was also instrumental in setting up the deal for a piece of land that is now the village playing field.

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Over the years Mr Hughes has worked tirelessly for the community on many issues and said he was "very proud" to have received the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

"I think it is a lovely tribute. I think Boxford is a lovely place to live and have worked hard for its best interests for more than 50 years. I am delighted my work has been recognised, but this honour is also for all the other parish councillors I have worked with over the years," he added.

Mr Hughes has also been a long-standing member of preservation group the Boxford Society and is on the committee of the East Anglian branch of the Parachute Regiment Association.

Mary Bowers has been given an MBE for her voluntary work with the Newmarket branch of the British Red Cross.

The 72-year-old said: "I was flabbergasted when the letter came through the post, but delighted as well.

"It has just become a way of life and we are very respected and have a good reputation in the community. The techniques have changed over the years and we have definitely become more professional."

When Mrs Bowers first joined the British Red Cross, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was an unheard of medical technique. Instead the injured were laid on their fronts and arms raised in the air to improve blood flow.

Although more than 50 years on things have improved, Mrs Bowers has remained the one constant and has served as assistant commandant, group leader and youth leader with the Newmarket branch.

Joan Mangnall, who received a MBE in recognition for her work in Pakenham, used the award to pay tribute to the hard work of her fellow villagers.

The chairman of the Pakenham Village Hall and Playing Field Association's crowning glory was acting as a figurehead for the village's drive for a new £500,000 community building, which opened in 2003.

Mrs Magnall, 71, said: "I was gobsmacked when I heard – I just couldn't believe it. But I am delighted and I think this is an honour for all the people in the village who have always been behind me.

"When I retired, I wanted something to do and my husband Roger has also been a great support. I love Pakenham and I love living here and the most important thing is making sure we keep its rural identity.

"The village hall has been open for 18 months and I am really proud of it. It is going really well and all the hard work was really worth it."

Suffolk County Council's music adviser Philip Shaw said he was "totally overwhelmed" by his award of an OBE.

Mr Shaw, 53, from Elmswell, has spent almost 20 years in the prestigious position, which has seen him work closely with schools and community groups.

"My time working for the county council has been very exciting and fulfilling," said Mr Shaw, who is also conductor of Suffolk Youth Orchestra.

"The local authority works very closely with the community in Suffolk and this recognition must also go to all the pupils, teachers and the community who I have worked with.

"There is a huge musical community in Suffolk and a tremendous amount of sharing and partnership and I am very proud to work here."

Pensioner Joy Walker admitted she burst into tears when she received her letter of nomination for the MBE.

The work of the 79-year-old in her home village of Hinderclay and spending 12 years fundraising for St Nicholas Hospice, Bury St Edmunds, earned her the honour.

Mrs Walker, a member of the parish council for more than 25 years, said: "I really can't believe it – when I got the nomination letter I just burst into tears.

"I am very honoured and privileged, but I don't think I deserve it. On the parish council, I just wanted to give something back to the people of Hinderclay after all the village has given me."

Tributes have been paid to legendary rock guitarist Jimmy Page, who received the OBE in the Diplomatic List for his work for the Bury St Edmunds-based ABC Trust.

After his wife Jimena set up the charity – which raises money for Brazilian street children – the founder member of legendary band Led Zeppelin has spent the past decade raising money and raising the profile of the trust.

Speaking from the Suffolk town's headquarters, chief executive Mark Ereira said: "We are obviously very pleased. We were part of the nomination process as we wanted to recognise what he was doing for the charity as well all he has achieved in music.

"He is extremely important to the trust, a champion for our cause, and he gives a lot of his time to help us raise the profile. The charity would not be where it is today without all his incredible help."

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