Proud palace day for Building Bridges stalwart

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A well-respected retired headteacher and churchman from Burnley picked up his well-deserved MBE at Buckingham Palace.

Mr Colin Wills, chairman of Building Bridges in Burnley received his MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to his home town.

The occasion was very enjoyable and memorable, and gave me a great deal of pride in my town and its people.

Colin Wills MBE

Mr Wills was accompanied to his palace investiture by his wife Freda, who was also celebrating her birthday, and more than 80 other people from all walks of life and from all parts of Britain and the Commonwealth.

Prince William presented Mr Wills with his medal and even jokingly asked “you don’t really build bridges do you?”

Colin then explained how, with others, he had helped set up BBB in 2001, after the serious disturbances of that year.

He added: “The occasion was very enjoyable and memorable, and gave me a great deal of pride in my town and its people.

“I give thanks to the God who created me and blesses me, Jesus who inspires and encourages me, and those who I work for, those who I have worked with, and by whom I am equally blessed, inspired and encouraged, but who haven’t been rewarded by the Queen, yet.”

• Colin Wills has enjoyed a busy vocation is several different fields over the years.

A United Reformed Church elder for more than 50 years, he also taught at Barden Junior School, Coal Clough Junior School where he became deputy head, and was headteacher at Stoneyholme Primary School Headteacher (amalgamated former Stoneyholme Infant and Stoneyholme Junior School).

He also sat on Lancashire’s Statutory Advisory Committee on Religious Education and the Briercliffe Road Surgery Patient Participation Group for several years.