A former Chichester schoolboy has been awarded an MBE for his services in the RAF.
Squadron Leader Stephen Beasley said he was surprised and proud to be recognised for his 33 years of service.
The 52-year-old was praised for his efforts in supporting a charitable child care centre at RAF Odiham where he was based for a number of years, and for completing his day to day duties in ‘exemplary fashion’.
Mr Beasley grew up in Donnington and went to Kingsham Primary School, Lancastrian Boys School, and then Chichester College before joining the RAF in 1977.
He still visits the area, as his parents live in the city.
When he found out he was to receive the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in the summer, he had already left the RAF.
He now works for the RNLI as a business improvement manager and is based in Poole, Dorset.
He said: “I got a phone call from my old boss saying, ‘You need to come back and see the station commander’, but he didn’t tell me why.
“I needed to find an excuse not to be at work that day.
“I managed to get to his office at 9am or 10am to be told there was a letter saying I had an MBE.
“It was a big surprise. It’s one of those things you don’t think is ever going to happen to you.
“Of course I didn’t tell my wife, because the Queen told me not to – I couldn’t admit to that.”
He took his wife, daughter and mother to the ceremony at Buckingham Palace, where he received his award from Princess Anne.
He was personally congratulated on his award by the Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stephen Dalton, who said in a letter to him: “This award justifiably recognises your outstanding contribution whilst serving at Royal Air Force Odiham.
“Not content with completing your primary role in an exemplary fashion, it was and remains your willingness to take on significant additional responsibilities in your own time that makes you stand out from your peers.
“You are an inspiration to all and your efforts will be greatly appreciated by the service community at Odiham for many years to come.”