Former Batley and Birstall News journalist and tireless campaigner for Batley Malcolm Haigh has received his British Empire Medal.
Dr Ingrid Roscoe, the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, presented the medal to Mr Haigh, who lives in Soothill, at a ceremony at Bowcliffe Hall near Wetherby on Monday.
He was one of 10 to receive the medal – formerly the MBE – at the ceremony at the historic hall, and will also be invited to a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace next summer.
Mr Haigh heard in June that he had been awarded the medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to the community.
Mr Haigh was the first secretary of Batley and Birstall Civic Society, chairman of Batley Community Alliance, a founder member and later co-ordinator of Batley Cemetery Support Group, chairman of both Batley Conservation Group and Batley History Group, and president of Dewsbury and District Ramblers.
He is a former chief reporter and sub editor of the Batley and Birstall News, and is a respected historian, having written several books on Batley and having run local history classes for more than two decades.
He is also involved with Woodkirk St Mary’s Church and has served as a warden there for five years.
Mr Haigh said he was delighted and humbled to receive the award, adding: “I’m absolutely chuffed to bits – not just for me but for everyone who is involved with all these different groups. It’s an award for them and their hard work too.”
A tireless campaigner for Batley, Mr Haigh – along with fellow members of the history group – recently opposed plans to close Batley Library and transfer services to the town hall, collecting 7,500 signatures on a petition in the space of three weeks. The proposal has now been shelved.
He attended the ceremony with his partner Barbara Addy and son Andrew Haigh.