A WILTSHIRE and Swindon local studies expert has been awarded with a Queen’s New Year honour for his service to the county’s heritage and public libraries.

Terry Nicholas Bracher, from Gastard near Corsham, has received a British Empire Medal (BEM) after spending most of his career working in local studies and heritage services.

Mr Bracher, 58, is manager for heritage services at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, and has been national chairman of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals local studies group for ten years.

He said: “I found out a couple of weeks before Christmas. It was a nice Christmas present to have.

"I was surprised to receive the award. When it dropped through the letterbox, I had to do a double take to make sure it was not a scam.

“I’ve had to keep it secret from everybody but my wife, Julia. I will be telling the rest of the family on New Year’s Day.”

Mr Bracher says his award is for the “whole profession” of public librarians and local studies staff who deal with local history enquiries from the public.

He joined the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre in 2007 as archives and local studies manager and was promoted to heritage services manager in 2017. Previously, Mr Bracher had worked in local studies departments in Northamptonshire and Shropshire.

“I have been very privileged to work in local studies and public libraries for most of my career,” said Mr Bracher.

He is expecting to receive his award from Wiltshire’s Lord Lieutenant and attend a Buckingham Palace garden party in the new year.