Trio are recognised in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Three pensioners who give back to their communities have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Lionel Stewart, 73, of Loveridge Avenue in Kempston, has been honoured with an MBE for services to the community in Bedfordshire.

In 1990 he became secretary of the Bedfordshire National Association of Retired Police Officers, which supports 650 retired officers with social, welfare or legal issues.

He represents the Beds branch every year at the assocaition’s annual conference.

Between 2000 and 2009, he was a board member of both Anglia West and Bedfordshire Crimestoppers and served as chairman of North Bedfordshire Crime Prevention Panel and has been chairman of the Kempston Town Council Community Safety Forum.

He was chairman of Robert Bruce Middle School and governor at Hastingsbury Upper School. Since 1989, he has been governor of Bedford Lower School and also served as chairman.

He has been a member of the National Governors’ Association, and in 2012 was a founder member of the Governors’ Forum.

In 2011, he also became a Trustee of Alcohol Services for the Community, which offers support to many vulnerable people in the community.

Diving coach Susan Bell will be presented with a British Empire Medal for services to diving.

The 64 year old of Poplar Avenue, Bedford, has been coaching at Bedford Eagles Diving Club for more than 25 years.

It is completely run by volunteers and has a membership of 40 children.

Mrs Bell gives up her personal time throughout the year to coach children and adults and is described as a pillar of the community.

She attends competitions to show support to her pupils and also helps with the treasury and memberships.

Always professional, Mrs Bell adapts her teaching skills to suit the individual such as coaching a national junior champion to coaching a child to improve their body co-ordination and life skills. Her dedication and knowledge has enabled trainee coaches to gain confidence in their skills and helped them gain levels one and two in diving, which has provided the club with a team of well qualified coaches.

Also in line for an British Empire Medal is Allan Jones, of Bury Walk, Bedford, for his dedication to voluntary service.

The 68 year old followed his two children into the Sea Cadets in 1985 as nothing more than a willing parent but, by 1988, found himself voted in as chairman of the committee.

Inheriting a small charity which had struggled to meet both its financial and legal responsibilities, he set about recruiting new members to the committee.

With several new members on board, his next task was to ensure the future of the unit at its home in the grounds of the London Waste Authority, a landlord whose relationship with the Sea Cadets had deteriorated.

Over the next two years he secured a written agreement which includes not only security of tenure, but also a relocation clause. He has secured the use of more outbuildings and enlisting the help of the landlord in the refurbishment of them. He then set about raising funds to refurbish the buildings, install new toilets and showers, overhaul the interior of the main building and maintenance of the grounds and fencing surrounding it.

Although he formally retired as chairman in 2014 he continues to act as mentor to his successor.