Honours presentation at Lancaster Castle

16 April 2015

**Issued on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant's office**

The historic and majestic surroundings of Lancaster Castle will host a prestigious Honours ceremony on Friday 24 April.

Recipients from Lancashire will receive a BEM (Medallist of the Order of the British Empire). The BEM rewards an achievement or contribution of a very 'hands-on' service to the community in a local geographical area.

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, The Lord Shuttleworth KCVO, will be making the presentations, which were announced in The Queen's New Year Honours List.

The Investiture will be carried out in the stunning Shire Hall by Lord Shuttleworth, who is Her Majesty's representative in the County.

Lord Shuttleworth said: "I am delighted once more to have the privilege of presenting BEMs to Lancashire people on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. The four recipients have all given great service to their communities, and we are all very proud of them."

The recipients will be:

*John Cowking, from Clitheroe, for services to music in the Hodder Valley. For over 43 years, Mr Cowking has made a huge contribution to music in the Hodder Valley region. At the age of 16 he took over the Slaidburn Silver Band saving it from closure. The band has become an integral part of the community raising money for charities and performing at 25 events every year. Under his leadership, the band is the envy of many larger towns and cities. Since 1975, Mr Cowking has also been the organist at St Andrew's Church in Slaidburn.

*Mrs Valerie Gill, from Slyne in Lancaster, for services to the community in Slyne and Hest Bank. Since retirement, Mrs Gill has tirelessly served her local community particularly the disadvantaged and young families. As well as being church secretary, she organises a local food bank and exercise class for those less mobile. She has been the instigator of several church community projects and her energy and enthusiasm has made a real difference to the lives of many people in the village.

*Maurice Hodgson, from Carnforth, for services to fire safety. For the past 44 years, Mr Hodgson has served the Fire Service and is currently the Watch Manager at Bolton-le-Sands Fire Station, where he has thrived on the responsibility and has served as a hugely effective role model for his team and indeed throughout the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. Mr Hodgson is also dedicated to local good causes, has coached the youth cricket team in his village for many years and leads the youth section of his local angling club.

*Mrs Margot Small, from Worsthorne in Burnley, for services to Children and Young People. Mrs Small is a volunteer, giving more years of her life following a long career of service to families as a health visitor. She has changed hundreds of young people's lives and has had an enormous impact on Failsworth Children's Centre and thus on the entire community. Despite her own battle with illness, her willpower and dedication to help others has been an inspiration.

About the British Empire Medal (BEM):
The BEM rewards an achievement or contribution of a 'hands-on' service to the community in a local geographical area.

This might take the form of sustained commitment in support of local charitable and/or voluntary activity, or innovative work that has delivered real impact.

At all levels, awards illuminate areas of dedicated service which merit public recognition.
Notes for Editors: Journalists and photographers are invited to attend. People are asked to be in their seats by 6:15pm, for a prompt start at 6:30pm. There will be photograph and interview opportunities following the Investiture. Please contact Sue Wilding at Lancashire County Council on 01772 533364 or e-mail [email protected] to confirm your attendance.

For further information please contact: Stephen Axon on 01772 533 194
[email protected]

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