Stewkley farmer honoured for commitment to village

BEM
BEM

A Stewkley village stalwart has been officially recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.

83-year-old John Cornish of Stewkley has been honoured with a British Empire Medal.

For the past 50 years John has provided an invaluable service to Stewkley Village Hall. He has led and managed two major refurbishments, the first of which as a member of the committee and the second as its chairman.

John told the LBO: “It was a complete surprise to receive the letter from the cabinet office and I’m certainly very pleased.

“Obviously you can’t talk about it very much before the announcement but I do hope my family is happy. It’s not an easy secret to keep!

“It was never hard for me working on the committee as I enjoyed it so much.

“I’m a farmer and we don’t have much free time but this is something I have always enjoyed taking part in.”

John told the LBO that he never imagined receiving a national honour and praised his fellow members on the committee.

The first refurbishment of Stewkley Village Hall took place in 1976. John led the project with the vision of making it a more visitor- friendly building. The entrance and the heating system was upgraded, the stage was moved, part of the roof was repaired and the access to the kitchen and toilets was improved and the entire project cost £10,500.

The money to fund this cost was raised from Buckinghamshire County Council and by local fundraising events which were run by the Village Hall committee.

In 2008, as chairman, he led another refurbishment project with the intention of improving health and safety and fully modernising the building.

The kitchen and toilet area was re-designed and replaced, the entrance was moved to a safer place and to allow it to become accessible for disabled people.

The heating system was upgraded once again, the flooring was re-laid. With his dedication and determination, this project took eight years to complete and cost £250,000 which was raised from grant making trusts, local fundraising activities and some private donations.