New Year’s Honour for Hastings community champion

Dick Edwards SUS-171229-163536001
Dick Edwards SUS-171229-163536001

A community stalwart and former headteacher has been named in this year’s New Year’s Honours List.

Dick Edwards, 71, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the community in Hastings.

He said: “I wasn’t expecting it and only discovered 10 days before Christmas when I received a form from the Cabinet Office asking if I would accept the MBE.

“It was a delightful surprise.”

Mr Edwards has been helping the community for more than 40 years, in particular the Old Town.

He has been chairman of Hastings Old Town Residents’ Association (HOTRA) for more than 20 years, working to improving the lives of residents.

Over time Mr Edwards has raised £130,000 through the Foreshore Trust to pay for a multi-use games area for children, where they can play safely.

He also raised £10,000 to fund a series of sculptures for Butlers Gap in Hastings that were designed by schoolchildren and created by a local artist.

For many years he has been a trustee of the Fellowship of St Nicholas charity, which provides for the most deprived children within the borough of Hastings and beyond.

Mr Edwards also got the county council to widen the pavement in the High Street in the Old Town to make it disable friendly.

He said: “This took six years to achieve but it’s much improved and a lot safer for people walking up the High Street.”

Mr Edwards also improved Winkle Island, which is now a central feature both for the community and visitors.

He said: “There is a fantastic history to the Winkle Club. We managed to raise funding to have some noticeboards put up, which explain the history of Winkle Island and the work of the club, as well as HOTRA.

“We had the whole island paved and got these lovely stainless steel benches put in.”

Mr Edwards also set up the annual Hastings Storytelling Festival, which marked its seventh year in 2017.

It was launched in 2011.