Four Buckinghamshire residents awarded British Empire Medals for services to the community

  |  Published: May 25th 2018

Four Buckinghamshire residents ranging from a retired firefighter to a Heathrow customs officer have had their achievements formally recognised by the Crown as they are awarded British Empire Medals.

The four individuals were presented with their medals at a special ceremony hosted by Buckinghamshire County Council Chairman, Netta Glover and the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, at the Judges Lodgings in Aylesbury on Wednesday (23 May). The ceremony was also attended by a number of Buckinghamshire’s Deputy Lieutenants.

The British Empire Medal is awarded for civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown and was first created in 1922. The four individuals who received medals were:  Joyce Booker, John Cornish, Manju Rajawat and Terry Ridgley.

Joyce Brooker received her medal for services to the community in Wing. Joyce, 85, has devoted more than 30 years of her life to the village. Her achievements include running the Wing Hall Trust and charity shop and producing the What’s On in Wing newsletter for the past 20 years. One of Joyce’s other major achievements is setting up The Cupboard in 1988. People sell their unwanted items to The Cupboard and 25% of the selling price goes back to the local organisations which have included Brownies, Scouts, the Wing Welfare Committee and Age Concern.

Reading the citation for Joyce, Deputy Lieutenant Francesca Skelton said: “ Joyce has made an extended contribution to her local community. As the village has practically trebled in size over the years, she has remained at its heart. Everyone who lives in the village knows her and her work, she is part of the glue that holds the small community together”.

John Cornish was awarded his medal for services to the community in Stewkley. 83-year-old John has been part of the Stewkley Village Hall Committee for over 50 years. Under his guidance two major refurbishments of the hall have taken place benefitting all those who use it. Reading his citation, Deputy Lieutenant Carolyn Cumming said: “John’s remarkable initiative and efforts in reinventing the village hall has not only made it an ideal venue for a variety of large events but the overall achievement has been in creating  a more social community space for the villagers.”

Manju Rajawat is a customs officer based at Heathrow Airport. Her medal was awarded for services to border security. In her 38 years in office, Manju, aged 60, from Gerrards Cross, has worked tirelessly in protecting UK borders and was one of the first female Asian officers promoted to the role of Higher Officer at the airport. Reading her citation, Deputy Lieutenant The Countess Howe said: “Her judgement, knowledge, operational expertise, enthusiasm and commitment are second to none. She is an extremely approachable individual and manager, well liked and respected by her staff, colleagues, senior management and colleagues from other Government departments. She commands respect and is a huge asset to the Civil Service.”

Terry Ridgley was the final person to receive his award for services to Fire and Rescue and the Fire Fighters Charity. John, 59, from Weston Turville has been involved in the Fire Fighters Charity for over 40 years, helping countless firefighters and their families in either getting back to work or rebuilding their lives. After leaving uniformed service he became the welfare officer, a role he still holds today, acting as a link between current and past serving members of the fire and rescue family.

Ken Seager, President of the Fire Fighters Charity previously said of Terry: “He has given over 40 years of loyal and devoted service to this charity. He is a hands on type of volunteer, happily taking on a new case on behalf of someone in need and I am very proud of what he has done in our name.”

Terry’s citation was read by Deputy Lieutenant Debbie Brock. The medals were presented by Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher who said afterwards: “It is a pleasure to reward and formally recognise on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, these individuals for their outstanding achievements and the dedication they have shown to their causes over a great many years.

The British Empire Medal is only awarded to the most exemplary candidates and these four residents embody everything it represents. Well done to all of them.”

group photo
British Empire Medal holders with Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, from left John Cornish, Joyce Brooker, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, Lord Lieutenant Sea Cadet Sam Keating, Manju Rajawat and Terry Ridgley
Joyce Brooker
Joyce Brooker receives her medal from Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher
John Cornish
John Cornish receives his medal from Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher
Manju Rajawat
Manju Rajawat receives her medal from Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher
Terry Ridgley
Terry Ridgley receives his medal from Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher
Terry Ridgley receives a guard of honour from members of the Bucks Fire & Rescue Cerermonial Corps
Terry Ridgley receives a guard of honour from members of the Bucks Fire & Rescue Cerermonial Corps. All photos courtesy Buckinghamshire County Council.
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