JOHN Harrup is Stoke Hammond born and bred so he is delighted, after a lifetime’s association with the village, that its residents put him up for recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, published last week.
The 84-year-old widower, of Fenny Road, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to the community and he couldn’t be more delighted.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to bits,” said Mr Harrup, who has been church warden at the parish church of St Luke’s for 54 years.
The pensioner first learned of the honour in May and has had a hard time keeping the secret.
“You’re not allowed to tell anyone. It’s the biggest secret I’ve ever had to keep. Then, when they were officially announced I told one or two people.
“Later that day I was at the village fete and our rector, the Rev John Walker, made a public announcement which was rather embarrassing.”
John, who used to work at the village garage, has spent his life helping his neighbours and, although now in his 80s, he has no plans to put his feet up.
“I just do my best and carry on. I’ve tried retiring but I keep being asked back. I suppose the village must appreciate what I do.”
Hazel Turner, vice-chairman of Stoke Hammond Parish Council, said: “Parish councillors wish to congratulate John Harrup on his BEM which is very well deserved. He has worked tirelessly for St Luke’s and others in the community all his life.”