NEW YEAR HONOURS: Belper pair receive awards

John Nelson, leader of the Town Council.

John Nelson, leader of the Town Council.

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Belper Town Council leader John Nelson says he was pleasantly surprised after being recognised in the New Years Honours list.

John has been made an MBE for services to the community.

Colin Picken.

Colin Picken.

The 74-year-old says his award came as a bolt out of the blue and that he still enjoys being involved with the goings-on in the Amber Valley town.

He told the Belper News: “To get an honour for something that you love doing doing is just brilliant.

“I’ve been a councillor for 28 years but my work in the community started before I became one.

“I’m born and bred in Belper and it’s my home.”

Mr Nelson, who is also director of Nelson Distribution, says he was “overwhelmed” when he got word that he would be honoured.

He added: “Words just can’t express it.

“You don’t do it to be honoured but when I found out I was overwhelmed.”

Another member of the community to be given honours is Colin Picken, who has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Colin, who lives in Belper, was the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal co-ordinator for Derbyshire.

Over the years he has spearheaded the Ambergate branch and helped raise millions of pounds to support veterans and those still actively serving.

Colin said the award came as a welcome surprise.

He said: “It came as a shock but a very pleasant one.

“I feel very honoured.”

The 78-year-old is still an active member of the branch and he added: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time supporting the Royal British Legion and have met some truly inspirational people in the variety of roles I have held.

“The Royal British Legion is as relevant now as it has always been, given the amount of work our armed services undertake to support the country.

“This award is recognition of the volunteers who have supported the cause over the years by giving their time and effort.”