Lodsworth stalwart named on New Year's Honours list - 'I am very surprised and humbled'
A Lodsworth community stalwart has been named on the Queen’s 2020 New Year’s honours list, having made a 'considerable and significant contribution to his village'.
Martin Lester, 76, said he was 'very surprised and humbled' to be awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the community, adding: "It just shows that as you get older and are in the early stages of retirement, there are still things you can do."
Having retired from the television industry, Martin moved to Lodsworth 20 years ago, where he became the chairman of the village hall management committee.
His citation read: "He has made a considerable and significant contribution to his village community, spanning a variety of projects such as Lodsworth Village Hall.
"He led on fundraising for the money needed to refit the hall and turning it into a valued community facility. He set up and ran the community shop. In the 1990s, the village did not have a shop, and residents had to travel to nearby towns for shopping.
"The Lodsworth Larder is now a great asset to the village."
Martin, who began his community work 15 years ago, said the shop has become 'quite famous'.
He added: "Lodsworth is a lovely little village. We have a tight knit community and everyone helps each other.
"There is a real community spirit. Residents asked me to help them make improvements and I just wanted to do my bit.
"We've raised probably about £300,000 with our charity work in the last ten years. This is a culmination of all that work [but] it came as a total surprise.
"I would like to thank all the people and committees as without them, none of it would have been possible. It's their help and support which has got us here."
Martin is also a co-founding member of Lodsworth Local Care, a non-profit voluntary organisation set up to provide social and practical support and care to vulnerable residents.
His citation added: "He has made a significant difference to his village community by his contribution to, and leadership of, various projects and initiatives which would not have happened without his involvement."