AFTER more than 30 years of voluntary work in the community, a man from Fairford has had his efforts recognised in the 2014 New Year’s Honours list.

William Beach, known to his friends in Fairford as Bill, has been awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal) in recognition of his outstanding services to the environment and the community.

The 59-year-old, who works as club secretary at Fairford Town FC, said: “It was quite a shock and a surprise to be recognised. When I saw the letter, I immediately thought ‘what is this all about?’ It’s not the sort of thing that happens to me normally but I am very honoured by it.”

Bill, a keen sportsman who spent 18 years with local football team CHQ United, is well known to generations of Fairford residents having been a volunteer with the local Cubs group for 35 years.

He has also spent nearly 40 years working with the Environment Agency as a flood risk management officer, trying to alleviate flooding in the Thames Valley region.

During his time at the Environment Agency, he helped coach younger members of staff towards gaining an NVQ qualification.

He said: “Helping people get recognised for the work that they do gave me a great deal of satisfaction. It was really rewarding.”

Bill, who has lived in Fairford since 1978, received the letter in mid November and had to keep the news a secret until the official list was made public.

He said: “It just goes to show that ordinary people like me can get recognised alongside the many famous actors and actresses out there.”

Bill will be presented with his honour by Gloucestershire’s Lord Lieutenant, Dame Janet Trotter, at a service in Gloucester Cathedral on St George’s Day.