community champion's surprise at New Year's Honour
long-serving community volunteer near Burnham-On-Sea has been
recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours.
Hart says he is "hugely honoured" to have been awarded
a British Empire Medal for his services to the community of Lympsham.
come as a complete surprise," he told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
"I had to read the letter three or four times before I believed
a wonderful honour. Lympsham is a great community and I have been
keen to protect its facilities over the years."
played a lead role in safeguarding the village's school and village
shop, and has been a central part of the community for over 35
and his wife, Liz, together with their three children, moved to
the village in 1977 when he quickly established himself as an
active member of the community.
became a governor of the village primary school and remained in
that role until the mid 1980s at a time when the school was threatened
with closure. He, along with the other governors, fought an ultimately
successful battle to ensure that the school remained in Lympsham
and went on to become the success that it is now.
has also been the chairman, treasurer and secretary of the village's
sports club and pavilion at various times over the years. During
his time as chairman, Keith was also responsible not just for
the bar and for organising the bar rota but for ordering in and
collecting supplies, liaising with the sport teams and keeping
the diary of events, whilst also working behind the bar whenever
that was needed.
was always there, through thick and thin, even at times when the
club struggled through lack of help from others. On countless
occasions, he would come at short notice to fill in for someone
who could not do their 'duty'. It was he, more than anybody, who
has kept the club going as the heart of this village," one
villager, James Counsell, told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
in 1997, when Lympsham's village shop came under threat because
the shopkeeper wished to give up and convert the shop into a private
house, Keith again came to the rescue.
village formed a committee to raise funds to build an annex onto
the side of the sports pavilion so that the shop could move to
new premises. Keith played a lead role in raising more than £10,000
to help proceed with the new building.
brought his background as a bank manager and his more recent experience,
running a retail and trade hardware business in Weston, to that
role. He has always been prepared to 'muck in' to do anything,
working many hours in the shop, all voluntarily, helping to recruit
new shopkeepers from time to time, going out to buy stock, dealing
with the weekly takings, sitting on the committee, and working
behind the counter.
is through Keith's hard work that the shop has survived while
many others in neighbouring villages have sadly gone," added
has also been a member of Lympsham Parish Council for several
years and a member of the Manor Hall Management Committee, the
charity which runs the village hall. He also set up an archaeological
group in the village and has been involved in the Harvest Home
since it re-started 13 years ago, and has been a key helper at
the annual church fete for many years.