THE leader of the battle to win recognition for Arctic Convoy heroes has been honoured for his unwavering efforts to secure fellow veterans a medal.
Commander Eddie Grenfell, 93, has been awarded the inaugural Churchill Award for Contribution to Charity.
Cdr Grenfell, of Portsea, was chosen in a public vote to receive the honour for his outstanding commitment and dedication in bringing the role of Arctic Convoy veterans to the attention of politicians.
His hard work resulted in victory this year when the first veterans received an Arctic Star medal, after years of often bitter campaigning.
The 93-year-old said: ‘I got the biggest surprise of my life when I received the letter.
‘I didn’t know anything about it.
‘I didn’t know such an award existed.
‘I’m very pleased when you consider there were only about nine people who got these awards.
‘It just seems that everything is coming at one time.
‘I never think about the work that I do because I have done 50 years of volunteering work and I never expect anything for it.
‘I just do it because I like helping various things.’
Cdr Grenfell has been invited to receive his award on board museum ship HMS Belfast, in London.
His daughter Trudie, 64, from Southsea, added: ‘I’m absolutely delighted that he’s getting recognition.
‘To me it’s just thrilling because everything is happening for him now.
‘He’s worked so hard for so many years on everything. The fact that the public have voted for this one is lovely.
‘The only thing I’m sad about for dad is that he’s so poorly now.’
The Churchill Awards, held with the support of Churchill Retirement Living, are held to honour excellence among the over 65s.
They were created to show off the contributions to society that older people make.
The winners of Churchill Awards are determined exclusively by a panel of expert judges, with the exception of Cdr Grenfell’s award, which was determined by a shortlist compiled by readers of the Daily Telegraph.
The winner was chosen by the judging panel.
Cdr Grenfell joins an illustrious list of other Churchill Award winners, including June Brown, who plays Dot in Eastenders, former chief whip Sir George Young and the Queen.