An ex-mayor and former councillor has been made an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Richard Stevens was given the prestigious gong on Friday (June 16), along with more than 1,000 people from across the UK, including celebrities such as comedian David Walliams.
He was given the award for ‘services to Hastings’.
Richard said: “When I heard that the Queen had been ‘graciously pleased’ to award me Membership of the Order of the British Empire (MBE ) I was thrilled beyond belief and completely overwhelmed.
“I describe the MBE as Marvellous/Brilliant/Extraordinary.
“To receive the honour for ‘services to Hastings’ made me so proud as I’ve always tried to serve my hometown to the best of my ability and to be a voice, particularly for those less fortunate than others.
“I come from an era before there were professional local politicians and so I always had to work full-time, even during the years of my mayoralty.”
He also quipped: “I’ve asked for the one John Lennon sent back to save the taxpayers a few bob but I don’t suppose Her Majesty will agree to that.”
Richard added: “I have to say quite seriously that civic service was a given in my day and now it has given me back more than I could ever have expected.
“Hastings is my home, my father was born on Hastings Day (October 14) and this town always has and always will remain part of my DNA. My sincere thanks to all those who took the time I gather to write in support of my nomination. I am humbled. God bless Hastings.”
Richard is a former Hastings borough and East Sussex county councillor, having served for a total of 30 years.
He has served as mayor three times in Hastings, is also a former leader of the council and chairman of the county council.
He stood down as a councillor in May 2012, ending up being the only LibDem on the borough council.
Richard is best known for his widespread charity work, such as his annual Sock Appeal for the charity, Surviving Christmas, which helps the lonely and hard-up during the festive season, the Gateway Club for those with learning disabilities and the famous Hastings Winkle Club, of which he is a trustee and vice-chairman.
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