Milborne Port

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Queen's Birthday Honours List Surprise

On the morning of Saturday 9th June, the folk of Milborne Port awoke to find that their esteemed milkman, Steve, had been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. This award is granted in recognition of meritorious service, and Steve will now be entitled to use the letters “BEM” after his name. The press release issued by the Cabinet Office on that morning announced that 318 individuals were awarded a BEM, and that the recipient of each award, whether a Knighthood, OBE, MBE or BEM, exemplifies the very best of our nation. It also says that this honours list continues to demonstrate the breadth of service given by people from all backgrounds, and that 71% of awards in the List have gone to people who have undertaken outstanding work in or for their local community. We are very proud that our very own Steve is one of these people and that his very well-deserved award is for his “services to the community in Milborne Port, Somerset”.

 

When a recommendation for an award of this type is made, the person being nominated has to fulfil certain criteria. They must have made a significant contribution in their area of activity with exemplary service; to have changed things with an emphasis on practical achievement; provided an example of the best sustained and voluntary service; and to have delivered in a way that has brought distinction to UK life. If you speak to anyone that knows him, all would agree that Steve has fulfilled all of this over many years and continues to do so.

Steve is a person on whom many depend. As well as delivering the morning milk, he keeps an eye open for any that are frail and vulnerable who may be in need, raising awareness to others if he considers anyone is in particular trouble so that further assistance can be given. He carries out small jobs as favours, runs errands and delivers messages. He has been a mainstay of the the village football club for the best part of fifty years or more and can be seen in all weathers marking out pitches, putting up the nets and making sure the pitches and buildings are maintained to the highest possible standard. He has been the one who, when most of the others had left for the customary post-match beer, would ensure the changing rooms were clean and tidy before locking up. He also tirelessly raises funds for the club. With the Spirit of Milborne Port, he helps to put up the Christmas trees and lights, taking them down again later, and works tirelessly from the crack of dawn to ensure everything is ready for the annual village fete. His regular ‘Oldies on the Move’ trips (which necessitated a really early milk round start) provided an opportunity for many who would otherwise be unable, to have an enjoyable day out with others. As our village handyman, he carries out jobs to ensure that the upkeep of many public areas in the village is maintained. This is merely a snapshot of many of the ways in which Steve contributes to life in our corner of Somerset: much of it in unpaid and unseen.

In an interview for the Western Daily Press, Steve was reported to have thought that, when the letter arrived it was a prank someone had pulled. One can only imagine how hard it must have been to have kept the news a secret from when the envelope dropped through his letterbox at the beginning of May, until the Cabinet Office allowed him and his wife Janet to tell their immediate family the evening before the awards were announced. He has received a letter of congratulation from the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, from whom Steve will receive his award “somewhere in the county”. However, he and Janet will be invited to one of the Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace next year, so we look forward to seeing the photographs!

Steve is a true and staunch member of our community who goes above and beyond to help others in the place he loves, so freely and willingly, always with a kind word and a cheery smile. It is a great comfort to know that Milborne Port has such an individual who believes in true community spirit. Well done Steve: you thoroughly deserve your award.

Susan Wales

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