QUEEN HONOURS TOM WITH MBE

A Birstall man has been rewarded for his work in the community in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Tom Hinchcliffe has been awarded an MBE for services to the community of Birstall, and he said it's thanks to the people he works with.

The 51-year-old is the voluntary director and company secretary of Fieldhead Community Centre.

Tom said: "I'm surprised and honoured to get an MBE. It's a nice conclusion to a long career serving communities in Spen and Birstall.

"I received a letter about four weeks ago from Downing Street saying my name had been put forward to the Queen but it wasn't confirmed yet so I had to keep it quiet.

"It was a bit of a shock when the letter came. I had no idea someone had nominated me. I have a good idea who it was now but they've managed to keep it a secret. I'm honoured.

"Although the award says 'for services to the community of Birstall' I believe it covers services throughout North Kirklees as I have been working with various youth clubs in Spen as well. I think it's for a combination of things.

"And it's down to all the people I've worked with because without volunteers and people to run youth clubs and the community centre then I just wouldn't be here doing this – but I'm glad I am because I really enjoy it."

Downing Street said the Queen's Birthday Honours was a list 'about rewarding people who work and serve at the sharp end, people who change things or give outstanding service to others in difficult situations.'

Tom retired from Kirklees Youth Services through ill-health but was asked to help the community centre as an advisor which led to his current role.

One of Tom's co-workers at the community centre, access worker Phyllis Murphy, said Tom deserved the MBE and more.

"He has volunteered in various places since he was about 16 and has helped so many people and families over the years not taking into account his ill health," she said.

"He continues to do this because he cares. Young people he knew from years ago still keep in touch and he tries to give support as much as he can."

Tom said the only sad part about the news was that the centre's chairwoman, Maureen Cosgrove, died last week before the award was announced.

"I'm absolutely proud and I will get a date soon when I need to go and see the Queen."

* Also honoured was Jane Glaister, who received the OBE for services to museums.

She has been responsible for Oakwell Hall in Birstall, Bagshaw Museum in Batley and Red House in Gomersal.

Since 2001 she has been director of arts, heritage and leisure at Bradford Council and was elected president of the UK Museums Association in 2002.

Ms Glaister, who was in London this week launching a review of collections in museums, said she was 'overwhelmed and excited' to receive the honour.