AN 86-YEAR-OLD who overcame polio as a child, and has been a pillar of the community for more than 40 years, has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

John Parmiter, of Pembroke Green, Lea, was awarded a Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for community service.

Mr Parmiter, who has suffered from the effects of polio for 70 years, was parish clerk of Lea and Cleverton for 20 years.

He was also involved in Malmesbury Marlins swimming club for more than 40 years.

He said: “I’ve always enjoyed working in the community so it’s nice to be recognised.

“I used to work with my father on the family farm in the late 1940s. During one very hot summer I used to jump into the river to cool off after work. The river was used by cattle, and polio is a water born virus, and that’s how I caught it.

“But it hasn’t been an issue for me, I just carried on the same as before.

“I’m now retired - with a vengeance! - but I still do the accounts for the parish council.”

Commenting on the award, John Cull, chair of Lea and Cleverton Parish Council, said: “The members of the parish council and I are delighted that John has received this richly deserved award for his service to the community.

“John, who is now 86, contracted polio when he was 17 - however this disability has not deterred him from serving the community and in fact it has made him even more determined to use his real abilities for benefit of others.

“He moved to the village of Lea in the late 1970s and was soon involved with the Village Hall Committee before becoming parish clerk in 1998.

“In that role he has performed with professionalism, energy and resilience while striving with the members to ensure that the parish is a good place to live.

“It is against this background that we congratulate John on this recognition of the service he has given to the parish.”

Maurice Cleaver, president of the Malmesbury Marlins swimming club, said: “John has been associated with Marlins since the 1970s.

“He served as a committee member, including as club secretary, and was always available to do anything he could for the club.

“John regularly attended swimming galas where he performed the vital task of recorder.

“He was a keen scuba diver, scuttling off to the Red Sea to indulge his passion until age caught up with him.

“In support of this he swam regularly at the Activity Zone to maintain his fitness. Latterly, John was our president until 2016.

“He is much loved and respected by the Marlins family who are delighted to learn that he has been awarded the BEM.”

Mr Parmiter said he is looking forward to receiving the medal, which will be presented by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire at a ceremony in the county hall.

He will also be invited to a tea party at Buckingham Palace.