A WALCOT resident’s years of voluntary work in the community have been rewarded with the announcement that he’s been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Roy Stephen, 50, who came to Swindon 11 years ago from Kerala in Southern India, has just received official notification that he’s been awarded the British Empire Medal.

Roy says: “This is something which is really great: I’m proud of myself and my family are very happy.”

The award will be conferred at a special ceremony in the county, and Roy and his family will also be celebrating with an invitation to one of HM the Queen’s Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace.

After coming to the UK on a highly-skilled migrant placement, Roy began work as a project manager for the Research Council UK. Along with this full-time job he also began working in the community.

He says: “I started working with different charities to promote community living and to improve the lot of migrants. Many migrants came from Kerala to Swindon to take up jobs, especially in the nursing profession, and I decided to work with organisations to promote the British way of life and to provide opportunities for integration.”

The citation which accompanies the award says that the honour has been granted in recognition of Roy’s “services to the Malayalee Association, the UK Knanaya Catholic Association (UKKCA) and to the community in Swindon”.

Roy, who received the Pride of Swindon Award in 2015, held posts as Secretary of the Malayalee Association and General Secretary of the UKKCA. He’s currently a Trustee of the Buckhurst Park Community Centre, stood for election as a parish councillor in May, and will be helping organise the Great Get Together event at Sussex Square on Saturday (June 17).

The citation also mentions Roy’s work in raising more than £41,000 in grants and gift tax returns for community development programmes, editing a quarterly newsletter, running a half-day writing course across 50 locations, and raising more than £300,000 to buy a building in Birmingham which is now a community centre.

In addition, Roy was instrumental in buying 1,200 Malayalam books to start a Malayalam language section in Swindon Central Library, with the help of a grant from the Community Foundation for Swindon and Wiltshire.

He adds: “Working with the community is not always easy, but I’m very happy to receive this award which is not just for me but also for the community. It’s an inspiration, and good for the community members who are trying to bring people together.”