Portchester grandad shocked by Queen's New Year Honour for his community work and wooden carvings
FROM crafting Second World War memorials to delivering Christmas dinners to the vulnerable, a 74-year-old Portchester resident has served his community for decades.
Now retired woodworker Richard Andrews has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for his contributions to the community in Portchester and Portsmouth.
The grandfather-of-five said he was shocked to receive the letter from the government.
He said: ‘I am very pleased and chuffed – but it made me think about all other people who deserve recognition.
‘You get a bit of a guilt complex.’
The award honours his work as a former church warden at St Mary’s Church, helping to organise summer galas and Christmas fayres as well as lunch events for lonely and vulnerable residents over the festive period.
It also recognises his creative contributions to Portchester life, with the self-taught cabinet maker responsible for the wooden Second World War memorial inside St Mary’s.
Richard said: ‘We had a lot of people down when it was unveiled last year, people who had lost loved ones in the war.
‘Seeing so many people appreciate the work was a real highlight.’
Richard is also responsible for carrying out many vital services for the church, including building a large altar base and altar rails, ongoing church maintenance, and repairs to the Vicar’s and Curate’s houses.
He added: ‘I’ve always believed that if you have a gift, you should share it.
‘I’ve been doing woodwork since I was a child – it’s always come easy to me.’
The awardee also volunteers at the Royal Naval Museum Portsmouth, showing visitors around HMS M33, the sole remaining veteran from the Dardanelles campaign, and gives lectures locally on the subject of naval history.
The history buff said: ‘I was born in Portsmouth – so the Royal Navy has always been a big part of my life, even though I didn’t serve.’