Long-standing community volunteer gets British Empire Medal for services to Northampton

Brian Stone received a British Empire Medal in the New Year's honours list NNL-151230-155932009
Brian Stone received a British Empire Medal in the New Year's honours list NNL-151230-155932009

A community volunteer who has provided more than 20 years’ service to a range of charities and organisations in Northampton has been awarded a British Empire Medal.

Brian Stone, aged 77, of West Hunsbury, began volunteering with the Northampton Association for the Blind in 1993 and he regularly visits blind people at home to provide company and support.

Mr Stone has also been a volunteer with the Friends of Northampton General Hospital since 2001 and despite currently suffering from prostate cancer himself, Mr Stone found the time to visit lonely, elderly patients this Christmas.

Mr Stone said he was “absolutely amazed” by the award and said he got a lot of enjoyment out of his voluntary work.

He said: “I had been out shopping when I returned to find a letter from the Cabinet Office on the mat. It said I had got an award for services to the community in Northampton.

“I was amazed. I don’t really know what I have done to deserve it. My wife Hilary deserves a lot of credit as she has been very understanding when I have spent time volunteering on Christmas and Boxing Day.”

As well as visiting patients in hospital Mr Stone, who previously worked for Northampton Borough Council as manager of the housing advice centre, drives the passenger buggy within the hospital, which carries both outpatients and visitors with limited mobility.

He is also heavily involved in Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, where he helps to run the Sunday school and, as a member of the choir, takes it upon himself to record the services and distribute the recordings to the housebound.

Every week he escorts elderly and frail people from the nearby residential home to the church service and will often visit during the week to make sure that they have everything that they need.

In 1995 he joined the Northampton Branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship, administering all membership matters there, with his wife, since 2005.