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Royal honours for three community heroes in Suffolk - these are their stories

PUBLISHED: 19:00 08 November 2019

British Empire Medal recipients (L to R) David Overton, Simon Harding and Peter Kidd, pictured with Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lady Clare Euston  Picture: BRAD JONES

British Empire Medal recipients (L to R) David Overton, Simon Harding and Peter Kidd, pictured with Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lady Clare Euston Picture: BRAD JONES

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Three community heroes from Suffolk have been presented with British Empire Medals in a special ceremony.

Simon Harding receives the BEM from the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk  Picture: BRAD JONESSimon Harding receives the BEM from the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk Picture: BRAD JONES

Simon Harding, Peter Kidd and David Overton were joined by their families for the investiture, having been awarded the accolades in the Queen's Birthday Honours earlier this year.

The Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lady Clare Euston, conducted the ceremony in Euston on Friday, November 8.

She said: "It meant so much to the Queen when she reinstated them [the BEMs]. She was absolutely determined that people helping in their local communities should be recognised."

She said the recipients "quietly work behind the scenes to make life better for others", and that the ceremony was an important day for Suffolk in recognising their contributions.

Peter Kidd after receiving the BEM from the Lord Lieutentant, alongside his proud family  Picture: BRAD JONESPeter Kidd after receiving the BEM from the Lord Lieutentant, alongside his proud family Picture: BRAD JONES

Those honoured were:

Simon Harding - for voluntary service to the community in Bury St Edmunds

Simon has raised more than £100,000 through Church Walks Charities, benefitting more than 35 local causes, by selling plants and produce with the help of his wife Valerie.

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When it was first announced he would receive the honour, he said it was "humbling" and he dedicated it to everyone who helped run Church Walks Charities.

Peter Kidd - for services to the community in Little Bealings

Peter stressed this community work had always been a team effort.

He also spent 11 years as vice chair of the Rochford House Trust in Woodbridge, a drop in centre for children who had been excluded from school.

He said the team found the children often behaved badly at school because they hadn't eaten any breakfast, so the centre began to stock cereals and other snacks.

Mr Kidd also helped to set up the Suffolk Punch Trust.

David Overton - for services to policing and the community in Suffolk

He is Suffolk Constabulary's longest serving volunteer, having served the force for more than 50 years.

Mr Overton started out as a Special Constable in 1967, serving until October 1998 and remained as a Police Support Volunteer.

After it was announced he would receive the BEM, he said: "During my time as a special constable I had the privilege to work with some very dedicated officers."

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