Heroes of the community deserve time in spotlight

COMMENT: Exciting to think this could be just the start

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There will aways be those who pooh-pooh the honours system, condemning the way gongs are given out to time-servers and those from the world of showbusiness such as famous actors and singers.

But what’s great about the Queen’s Birthday Honours list out today is the way it also recognises those unsung folk who have put in many years of dedicated service in their communities.

It was never done for recognition or reward and they have certainly never sought the spotlight. But they fully deserve their moment, even if most are too modest to think they should ever be given an award.

People like selfless Michael Rowsell from Gosport, who spent four decades involved in air and rescue operations for the navy and the coastguard at Lee-on-the-Solent.

During the course of his duties he risked his life to save those of others and is a worthy recipient of the British Empire Medal for that alone.

But he and his wife Christine also fostered and brought up two handicapped children – and caring Michael led a team who raised more than £45,000 for the disabled community to give them a better life.

They are an inspiration to us all. But even in his moment of recognition, Michael says: ‘When I look at people around me and the work they do, I think; “why me?”.

‘I look at the things I’ve done, but then there are those who are more deserving.

‘When you see what volunteers do in the community, it’s very humbling.’

He’s quite right. There is a hidden army out there of people who go the extra mile to help others.

We honour them each year with our We Can Do It awards, which celebrate the special people who make a difference.

Long may the honours system do likewise.