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Andrew speaks of pride at receiving medal from Lord Lieutenant

North Wales Society of the Blind chair Andrew Hinchliffe has spoken of his pride at receiving a Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM).

Andrew was presented with the medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Henry Featherstonhaugh, at a ceremony held at Llanfairfechan community hall on the evening of Wednesday, June 12.

The awarding of the medal was announced in January.

He received the medal for “services to local government and to the community in North Wales.”

Andrew, from Llanfairfechan, Conwy was nominated by the North Wales Society of the Blind (NWSB).

He joined NWSB’s trustees board in 1999, and is now chair. He is a former Conwy county councillor and Llanfairfechan town councillor.

Andrew said: “I have been a supporter of the Society for 25 years. I have tried to bring all my experience from the council - and all the other charities I have been involved with - to contribute to the Society. That has included all the work I have done with older people and my work to ensure diversity.

“I was nervous beforehand but the clerk of the council, Jayne Neal, made it a very enjoyable and proud experience for me.

Many of Andrew’s friends and family also attended the ceremony.

Andrew said: “The occasion was marked by a very enjoyable gathering of colleagues, friends and family and everyone was there to celebrate the presentation of the award, which was very nice.

“The Lord Lieutenant was very nice and pleasant to everybody who was there.

“They had told me not to tell anybody; so I didn’t tell anybody until the announcement. I think there were only a couple of medals throughout North Wales – mine was the only British Empire medal.

“I attended the garden party the other week at the Palace – the day that Sunak announced the election and got soaked!”

NWSB chief executive Steven Thomas wrote in support of Andrew’s nomination for the honour.

He wrote: “Andrew is a truly remarkable gentleman, whose dedication and commitment to helping others knows no bounds.

Mr Thomas added: “Andrew champions and fights passionately for many different causes on both a national and local level.

“He is a cornerstone within his local community who is recognised and revered by all who have benefitted from his countless contributions to the betterment of his community.

“It has been, and continues to be, a pleasure and a privilege to be able to work closely with Andrew; his continued support and guidance has truly transformed the services the North Wales Society of the Blind is able to provide.

“Andrew is particularly passionate about promoting the rights and improving services for older people, especially those from the LGBT community. He is equally passionate in his promotion of diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of his work.

“We are delighted his efforts have been deemed worthy of recognition by this award.”