Former Vicar of Berwick, Canon Alan Hughes, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
The 67-year-old, who retired in February and now lives in Wark with his wife, Susan, receives the honour for services to the community.
He says he is ‘astonished, proud and honoured’ to get the award - and insists he has no idea who recommended him for it.
Alan said: “Baron Guy de Rothschild famously said ‘never ask for an honour, never refuse an honour if offered one. But if you do get one, never, ever, wear it’.
“I shall wear my MBE insignia only when and where appropriate. I will constantly wear what it represents in my heart, in fond remembrance of our privileged time with Berwick, its unique and historic parish church, our congregation and generous townsfolk.
“I say ‘our’ for I dedicate the award to my wife Susan, one of the many clergy wives who, as unpaid curates and unsung heroines, make ministry possible, often in a sacrificial way.
“Equally so our children, Tamsin and Hugo, who have been an unfailing support throughout our shared ministry and continue to serve Berwick in their own varied and distinctive ministries.
“We consider this MBE to be very much a Berwick Vicarage family award. Without the help and generous support of countless folk, in and around Berwick and our friends further afield, Susan and I could not have achieved many of the targets which we set for and from Berwick Parish Church.”
Alan was Vicar of Berwick for 18 years, making him the town’s longest serving vicar in almost a century. During his tenure, the church was extensively renovated at a cost approaching £1m.
Born in North Yorkshire in 1946, he was a boyhood server at St Chad’s Church in Middlesbrough before joining The Coldstream Guards where he served in Aden, East and North Africa.
His military career continued as an officer with The Royal Highland Fusiliers in Glasgow and Edinburgh, where he was called to Theological College in 1970.
Ordained in 1974, his first ministry was in Wester Hailes, relocating to New Marske in North Yorkshire in 1978, Kirkbymoorside in 1984 and Berwick in 1994. In his time here he was a chaplain to many organisations and a governor at three schools.
He paid particular thanks to his Regiment, The Coldstream Guards, for assisting him and the late Viscount Ridley in 1996, when they initiated the invitation to the Queen to visit Berwick in 2000. Another proud moment was securing the Coldstream Colours which now rest in the church.
Elsewhere, the Earl of Home, David Douglas-Home, receives the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle.