LEADING lights across west Wiltshire have been recognised for their service to the community and to the country in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Publication of the Queen’s Birthday Honours was delayed this year from June to October to recognise those who have played a significant part in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Phil Courage received a British Empire Medal for services to the community in Bradford-on-Avon.

He received the BEM for his work with Wiltshire Children’s Breakaway, a charity set up to give disadvantaged children and families from Wiltshire and Swindon a holiday.

Mr Courage, 72, of Springfield, has lived in Bradford on Avon, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be awarded the BEM. I found out about three months ago and was sworn to secrecy.

“To date, we have provided over 1,000 holidays to children recommended by social services. I have just led a very dedicated team for the past 20 years doing that.”

Mr Courage is married to Anthea and has three daughters Kate, Felicity and Rachael.

From East Sussex, he retired 12 years ago from his job at Wiltshire College in Chippenham teaching students with learning difficulties.

Mr Courage is the current president of the Bradford on Avon Lions Club and has been a leading light in the town’s The Bradfordians Dramatic Society for 48 years and has twice been its chairman.

Mr Courage has directed more than 60 productions for various drama and operatic groups, including The Bradfordians’ recent production of Tess of the D’Ubervilles.

He is delighted that his three daughters have all inherited his interest in music, drama and theatre.

Other local Queen’s Birthday Honours recipients are:

CBE: Simon Gerald Routh-Jones, QFSM, of Marlborough, HM chief inspector, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, for services to the Fire and Rescue Service

MBEs: Belinda Mary Southwell, JP, of Warminster, a volunteer at HMP Erlestoke, for services to offender rehabilitation and the community in Wiltshire; John Charles Lyons, of Westbury, media officer, Operation Cabrit, for public service; Michael Andrew Biggar, of Malmesbury, for services to charity and the NHS during the Covid-19 response; Alison Edgar, of Chippenham, managing director, Sales Coaching Solutions, for services to Entrepreneurship and Small Business;

OBEs: Paulette Cope, of Trowbridge, project manager, Phoenix II, Land Equipment, Ministry of Defence, for services to Ministry of Defence; Timothy James Dawson, of West Ashton, chief executive officer, SkyDemon, for services to Aviation Safety.

BEM: Joy Nancy Guy, of Burbage, for services to education