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West Northants residents recognised with British Empire Medal

31 May 2024

Roberta Vivian Lindsay Blyth and Derek Bland accepting their medal

Two remarkable individuals from West Northants have been officially honoured with the British Empire Medal (BEM) for their outstanding service to the local community. 

Mrs. Roberta Vivian Lindsay Blyth BEM and Mr. Derek Bland BEM have been recognised as shining lights in their respective communities for their 'hands-on' approach to community activism. The British Empire Medal recipients were presented with their well-deserved medals by His Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, James Saunders Watson Esq.

“I was astonished and very touched when I learned last November that I had been nominated for a British Empire Medal for services to the community in Roade. On New Year’s Day, I found out I had been recommended by committee members of Roade Local History Society, Roade Community Library, and Roade Women’s Institute.”

“Roade is a great place to live, and there are many people here who deserve a medal. I am privileged to have worked with some of them and feel very grateful to receive such an honour on their behalf.”
Roberta Vivian Lindsay Blyth, West Northamptonshire Resident and BEM recipient

The second recipient of this prestigious accolade was Mr.  Derek Bland, being recognised for his lifelong commitment to the Church & Chapel Brampton, Upper and Lower Harlestone, Holdenby and East Haddon community. His extensive involvement with the local church, parish council, and various community initiative all while maintaining a demanding career in London.  

"One thing leads to another. I reflected on why I should be deemed worthy of such an honour and can only think that it is not for doing what so many people have done over the years but perhaps for the length of time I had been involved in the community and the variety of roles."Derek Bland, West Northamptonshire Resident and BEM recipient

Derek's journey of service began with the guidance of mentors and family, leading him to serve in various capacities within the church, local council, and community organisations. He credits his upbringing and the support of his community for his ability to serve tirelessly. 

“I could not have achieved over 40 years ‘service to the community’ without the assistance of the countless parishioners on both the ecclesiastical and civil councils, the contributors to and distributors of the Newsletter, which I produced for 50 years, in the Bramptons, Harlestone and East Haddon and the multitude of people who joined me in social activities, and of course my wife, Rosemarie.”Derek Bland, West Northamptonshire Resident and BEM recipient
"It is with great pleasure that I present these British Empire Medals to Mrs. Roberta Vivian Lindsay Blyth and Mr. Derek Bland.  We are immensely grateful for their invaluable service to the community.

"Their tireless efforts and unwavering commitment serve as an inspiration to us all."
James Saunders Watson Esq, Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire
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