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Queen honours community spirit

Doreen and Donald Clinton-Smith, from Market Harborough, have received the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Below: Len Bale

Doreen and Donald Clinton-Smith, from Market Harborough, have received the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Below: Len Bale

Volunteers who have been working tirelessly for the good of the community for decades have been honoured by the Queen.

Harborough couple Donald and Doreen Clinton-Smith, and Len Bale of Lubenham, were all awarded British Empire Medals (BEM) in the Birthday Honours list for services to the community.

Mr and Mrs Clinton-Smith, of Glebe Road, ran youth activities linked to Harborough Methodist Church for many years.

More recently they were key to Harborough’s successful bid to secure Fairtrade status and, through the Churches Together group, helped form the successful Clockwise Credit Union.

They are also actively involved in Churches Together’s Holidays at Home scheme for older people and Harborough’s Action for Justice and Peace group.

Mr Clinton-Smith said: “It was a surprise when we found out. We got a letter one day marked ‘Cabinet Office: Urgent’ and our immediate reaction was ‘what have we done?’.

“We’ve always done our best, worked hard and tried our hardest to help.

“Everything we have done has been possible because of the teams of volunteers that we have worked with.

“We feel that this award is really reflected by all that they have done.”

Mr Bale (85) is chairman of Lubenham Village Hall, which he has been involved with since 1978.

A retired architect, he oversaw renovation work to the hall in the mid-1990s and designed the new hall, built in 2004, for free as well as leading the fundraising drive to complete the project.

He is also a church organist, a youth club leader, chairman of Lubenham Drama Group and a former volunteer driver.

Mr Bale, who has a wife, Margaret, four children, 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, said: “When I read the letter I couldn’t understand what I had done to deserve it.

“Obviously someone put me forward. It was unexpected, but very nice.”

 

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