BEM holder believed letter honouring his hard work was a scam but was 'overjoyed' to discover the truth - The Solihull Observer

BEM holder believed letter honouring his hard work was a scam but was 'overjoyed' to discover the truth

Solihull Editorial 18th Jun, 2019 Updated: 18th Jun, 2019   0

A MAN who has dedicated himself to the village of Barston thought a letter informing him of an honour from the Queen was a scam.

Robert Cookes was named on the Queen’s Birthday honours list.

He was given a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to Barston village.

The 70-year-old has spent more than four decades serving the village through his role on the village hall committee to being elected onto the parish council, where he still remains a councillor.




While on the village hall committee he organised barn dances to help raise funds for the general maintenance of the building and often helped with bookings.

In 1983 Robert was elected onto Barston Parish Council.


He was vice chairman from 1989 to 1992 and chairman from 1992 until 2017.

Over the years as well as completing comments on planning applications, Robert and his fellow councillors have cleaned the village road signs and installed a number of cameras in a bid to tackle burglaries in the area.

He told the Observer: “All I did was for the good of the village. I’m not one to do things for the glory – I don’t think I have done anything tremendous.”

When Robert received his letter saying he had been awarded his BEM he said he and his wife, Rose, thought it was a scam.

“We decided to call the number on the letter just to find out and the man who answered assured us it was genuine and not a scam.

“I replied with in a few hours to say I would accept the award.”

Robert will be handed his BEM at a special ceremony in September in Birmingham by the Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands John Crabtree OBE and is due to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace next year.

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