COMMUNITY hero Alan Nix has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his charitable work in Swindon.
Alan, 79, has been a stalwart of the community for years, being heavily involved in some of the most successful projects in the town, including a mobile drugs education classroom, and leading the way with the Lawn Community Centre.
Alan will receive his award in the next five months, but he said it was not entirely earned on his own.
“It is a job to keep it quiet and not tell anybody,” he said, having kept the news secret since May.
“The letter was sent in the strictest confidence, but I told my daughter, my son and my wife obviously.
“You don’t know who is going to present it to you but I would prefer it to be the Queen. We are kindred spirits, she is 88 and she is still at it, and I am approaching 80.
“I was involved with the Rotary for 25 years with a lot of community service projects, mostly with children.
“Then for many years I was involved with a drug prevention education mobile classroom, and it was after that I got the first ever Pride of Swindon award.
“Then I became involved with the cancer user services in GWH, and helped with the fundraising campaign for the new radiotherapy unit.
“For ten years I was chairman of the Lawn Community Association, which I am very proud of and it is a great success.
“The centre in Lawn is a bit of a flagship now. They have just negotiated a new 40-year lease, which is wonderful.”
Alan shows no sign of slowing down and is still working a great deal with his own cancer charity ABC and a number of other projects.
“I think the greatest success was the mobile classroom,” he said.
“It visited all the primary schools over a 10-year period.
“There are 150,000 local children who are four to five times less likely to be involved in substance abuse.
“There are parents now who had the benefit of using the mobile classroom.
“I did not expect any more recognition so this is a great surprise to me. My son got quite emotional and shook me by the hand when he found out. I have sent letters to other relatives about it for them to open this morning.
“You get these things for great contribution, but it was the Rotary who gave me the start and the local authority, the hospital and other different agencies who made it happen.
“I am getting the recognition they deserve. I come up with these old ideas and they make it happen.
“I took 500 children to the seaside for the first time years ago as a community service project, and none of those children had ever been to the seaside, so that was quite special.”
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said he was immensely pleased Alan had got one of the highest honours.
“Alan has done a huge amount of work to help the Lawn Community Centre, but he is at pains to point out it is not just him, it is the whole team there who have done so much work to make it a great community asset,” he said.
“He would regard it an honour for the community, and that is the mark of the man. I am very pleased and proud that he has been honoured.”