Pendle man to receive BEM on behalf of King Charles III for community work, including helping to save Trawden Arms pub
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The newly installed Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, Mrs Amanda Parker, will present the British Empire Medal to Steven Wilcock during a prestigious ceremony at Lancaster Castle tomorrow.
Dad-of-two Steven said: "I found out in May when I was on holiday with my wife Jane, and we both burst into tears as it was such a shock. I was dumbfounded."
The mission started 10 years ago when the council announced plans to close the village community centre. Residents rallied around to buy the building, with Steven becoming a chair of trustees.
"I remember the day they handed the keys over.
"I thought, 'Is this going to work?'
"We took a deep breath and said, 'Let's give it a go'.
"And it did work. It has proved to be a great success and has gone from strength to strength."
Since then, Trawden has become the first village in the country with a pub, community centre, library, and shop in community ownership. Villagers raised £500,000 through 430 shareholders to purchase the Trawden Arms. Their success has attracted the attention of media outlets from as far as Germany and France, with other villages asking for advice about how to emulate their model.
Around 100 volunteers have supported the mission, with Steven adding: "I didn't do this on my own. Everyone has done what they can. It's unbelievable the number of people who have come forward to help."
An achievement he is particularly proud of is that the community centre has revived a social group for older people.
Previously run by Age UK before it ran out of funding, it attracted an average of 10 people per fortnight but now regularly has 30 to 60 attendees enjoying a two-course meal and entertainment at each meeting.
He called the community's achievements "incredible", adding: "It's kept the community spirit going and brought many people together who didn't know each other. It's created a lot of new friendships."