Earls Barton man awarded British Empire Medal in Queen’s New Year Honours

Graham recording news at the studio from one of our papers in 2007.
Graham recording news at the studio from one of our papers in 2007.

Earls Barton’s Graham McInnes has told of his delight after he was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

The retired salesman, 75, was given the honour for his services to church music and the Wellingborough Talking Newspaper.

He has lived in Earls Barton since 1976 after moving from the West Midlands, and has been involved in church music and organ playing for 70 years.

Mr McInnes said: “I wasn’t expecting the honour but when you’ve been around for more than 70 years nothing surprises you.

“I first started out at the age of five in Newcastle before we moved to Birmingham, I love it.

“In 2000 I moved to All Saints Church in Wellingborough and ran the choir but we haven’t done many weddings recently as nobody wants to get married in churches any more.

“I probably only did one last year, but that’s not bad as people are usually late!”

Graham has also been heavily involved in the Wellingborough Talking Newspaper, a service which reads articles from newspapers and magazines like the Northants Telegraph and puts them on a memory stick for visually-impaired people to listen to.

He first volunteered for the service in 1995 – although he was thrown in at the deep end.

He said: “One of my colleagues who was involved in the service persuaded me to join in but he soon backed out so I was left with a bit more to do.

“It’s got a bit easier with modern technology and papers going weekly, and being retired I get plenty of time to help out as an engineer every four weeks or so.

“We operate from a studio in the town and it’s a very important service for those who need it.

“We’ve got more than 100 listeners and the Post Office send out our tapes to our listeners every week.”