Quite an experience for a country lad

Jack Deeble with his MBE.
Jack Deeble with his MBE.

IT was ‘quite an experience for a country lad’ – that’s the verdict of a 90-year-old community champion from Alnwick, after receiving his MBE from the Queen.

Jack Deeble received Royal recognition of his voluntary efforts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June, just days before the monarch made her landmark visit to the town.

Ian August with his MBE. Pic by Margaret Whittaker.

Ian August with his MBE. Pic by Margaret Whittaker.

He recently travelled to Buckingham Palace in London for the investiture, where the Queen presented him with the medal.

A long-serving and active member of the League of Friends of the Alnwick Hospitals, as well as Hillcrest Maternity Trust Fund, Jack served as treasurer for 20 years before becoming chairman in 2009.

He has also served as chairman, secretary and treasurer of the North Northumberland Golf League at various points and helped found the junior league.

Proudly displaying his MBE this week, Jack said: “It was quite an experience for us lads from the country – the British do these grand ceremonies better than anyone else in the world.

“The Queen was very pleasant and I asked her if she enjoyed her visit to Alnwick earlier this year. She said very much so and that if she gets a chance to come back, she would like to spend more time in the town and visiting the castle.”

In accepting his MBE, modest Jack paid particular tribute to his predecessors at the League of Friends, the late Gerald and Mavis Curry.

Meanwhile, Ian August, 71, also received his MBE at the Palace, which was awarded in the Birthday Honours for voluntary service to the Alnwick Garden, where he still works as garden liaison director.

“The interesting thing was that she said she had enjoyed her visit and would have liked to have spent more time at the Garden,” said Ian. “It was a very memorable occasion and it particularly reflects on not just what I have done, but what everyone else at the Garden has done as well.

“I must admit that standing at Buckingham Palace being honoured for my work was quite special.”

Ian is the only person who has been continuously involved with the Garden, other than the Duchess, since the start 15 years ago.

He was considering retirement from his role working in property development for Northumberland Estates before the Duchess asked him to work on the Garden project.