QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY HONOURS: Ex-naval officer from Waterlooville to receive BEM for

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A RETIRED naval officer from Waterlooville will receive the British Empire Medal for his service in the community.

Testament to his history of assistance within the communities of Havant and Waterlooville, 69-year-old Geoff Lynch will soon accept the BEM from Her Majesty the Queen.

It was five years after retiring from the Royal Navy in 1998 that Mr Lynch began working unpaid as a fundraiser and facilities manager at the Havant Youth Sail Training Scheme, becoming principal in 2014.

In the same year, Geoff took up the responsibility of running the Monday Club at Leigh Park Community Centre – a social space for people who once had or still suffer from mental health issues.

Speaking to The News, Mr Lynch reflected on his honour.

He said: ‘I feel honoured and humbled. It’s a privilege.

‘The Monday Club is a place for people to meet, play scrabble and have a chat.

‘It’s important to me because I know it’s important to those people.’

As an ex-serviceman, Geoff believes learning to sail is worthwhile for young people.

‘It’s exhilarating, challenging and doesn’t involve looking at a screen.

‘It’s a great character builder.’

Mr Lynch has also been heavily involved with the Waterloo and District Residents’ Assocation for the past 15 years.