Search

Norfolk community stalwarts are awarded British Empire Medals

PUBLISHED: 16:14 11 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:14 11 May 2018

The Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, with the recipients of the British Empire Medal, from left, Alan Witham, for services to the community in Erpingham; Janet Lake, for services to the community in Brancaster; and Giles Margarson, for services to the community in Aylsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, with the recipients of the British Empire Medal, from left, Alan Witham, for services to the community in Erpingham; Janet Lake, for services to the community in Brancaster; and Giles Margarson, for services to the community in Aylsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

The hard work of community champions has been recognised today, as three Norfolk men and women were awarded the British Empire Medal.

Alan Witham who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Erpingham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAlan Witham who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Erpingham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The north Norfolk recipients were awarded the honour by the county’s Lord Lieutenant Richard Jewson at a ceremony in Norwich, who said they should be “justifiably proud” of their awards.

First to receive her award was Brancaster’s Janet Lake, for her 52 years’ of service to Brancaster Parish Council.

Giles Margarson came next, thanked for his work in his home town of Aylsham, perhaps most notably for turning it into a plastic bag-free town.

Last to recieve his award was Alan Witham, whose family have lived in the village of Erpingham since the mid-1800s.

Giles Margarson who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Aylsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYGiles Margarson who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Aylsham. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

And Mr Witham is certainly doing his ancestors proud, having established many hugely successful projects such as the Aylsham boxing club.

Mr Witham, 57, was first assistant coach and then head coach at the club, which saw local legends Liam and Ryan Walsh rise to international success.

Now Mr Witham has set his sights on a new project, which will not only shape the future of Erpingham, but also the knowledge of its past.

In 2015 Mr Witham set out to help the town remember the Battle of Agincourt, and how the town’s namesake Thomas Erpingham was involved.

Janet Lake who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Brancaster. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJanet Lake who has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Brancaster. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“And our new project grew from there. We now want to excavate the remains of Erpingham’s Hall. We’ve found the four walls of the manor and it’s 2,800 square feet. It was a huge place, much bigger than we thought,” explained Mr Witham.

The father-of-two continued: “A professional archeologist lives in the village and we’re reporting all of our findings to Gressenhall so it’s being properly recorded.

“What we want to do is get funding to buy the land and have archaeolgical digs, and get the public and local schools to do the digging. You always see these things going on, but it’s the same people doing it and everyone else watching.” He added: “We also want it to act as a base for historic craft workers like stonemasons and pottery makers, so that whenever they need they can come, set up a base, and show the community what’s on offer.”

The Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson speaks before presenting the three British Empire Medals to, from left, Alan Witham, for services to the community in Erpingham; Giles Margarson, for services to the community in Aylsham, and Janet Lake, for services to the community in Brancaster. With them is deputy Lieutenant, Mary Rudd. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson speaks before presenting the three British Empire Medals to, from left, Alan Witham, for services to the community in Erpingham; Giles Margarson, for services to the community in Aylsham, and Janet Lake, for services to the community in Brancaster. With them is deputy Lieutenant, Mary Rudd. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Janet Lake has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Brancaster.

“If you live in Brancaster, you know Janet.”

This was how Janet Lake was introduced in her citation ahead of receiving her British Empire Medal.

81-year-old Mrs Lake has lived in Brancaster all her life, and has seen the council which she has served for 52 years through the highs and lows of a changing community.

She said: “It’s not really about the highlights of the 52 years, it’s about the changes. We’ve got so many more second-home owners now so we’ve had to work to keep the community together.

“We’ve also battled to keep some of our amenities. I was a school governor and we really had to fight for the school. Growing up and seeing them move away because of house prices was really sad, so I joined the Brancaster Housing Society to help people that grew up here, stay.”

Giles Margarson has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community in Aylsham.

It seems that there is not a community initiative which happens in Aylsham, in which Giles Margarson is not somehow involved. The former councillor was thanked for his part in turning the town plastic bag-free, after 120 businesses in the town signed up to the project.

Mr Margarson was also involved in a £140,000 project to restore church ruins in the town, with many other volunteering roles beside. The father-of-two said: “It’s not about the award, it’s about the projects we’ve done and will continue to do.

“When I first got the letter through I saw her Majesty’s seal on it and thought ‘Oh no what’ve I done!’ and then when I read it I was so pleased.

“You get nominated for the award, so it’s lovely to know someone’s done that. I don’t know who nominated me but I have my suspicions. It’s not about knowing though, and it’s lovely to be recognised.”

Other popular content

Yesterday, 14:13

A drink driver who was caught on the first day of the annual festive crackdown almost five times the limit has been jailed.

Yesterday, 10:30

The owners of a newly-reopened north Norfolk fishmongers have said they hope to be in business in “50 years and beyond”.

Yesterday, 14:28

A £190,000 revamp of a Cromer park has moved a step closer with a planning application now registered with the district council.

Yesterday, 16:44

Campaigners have described transport links at a north Norfolk railway station as “dreadful, frustrating, and appalling” as new figures reveal it gained 10,000 passengers over the past year.

Most Read

Yesterday, 14:13

A drink driver who was caught on the first day of the annual festive crackdown almost five times the limit has been jailed.

Read more
Norwich Magistrates Court
Yesterday, 10:30

The owners of a newly-reopened north Norfolk fishmongers have said they hope to be in business in “50 years and beyond”.

Read more
Cromer
Yesterday, 14:28

A £190,000 revamp of a Cromer park has moved a step closer with a planning application now registered with the district council.

Read more
North Norfolk District Council
Yesterday, 16:44

Campaigners have described transport links at a north Norfolk railway station as “dreadful, frustrating, and appalling” as new figures reveal it gained 10,000 passengers over the past year.

Read more
Norman Lamb
Yesterday, 09:47

Residents in north Norfolk are pressing ahead with plans to buy a village’s only pub for the community - but need to raise about £250,000 in just six months.

Read more
North Norfolk District Council

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 2°C

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Norfolk News e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

North Norfolk News weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy