“SURPRISED – but really pleased” – that was the verdict from Mike Gittus after hearing news he had been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List ‘for services to the community of Alcester’.
And he admits he couldn’t wait to tell his 87-year-old mum Ann.
“Despite the fact that I’ve tried to play it down my mum spent a good part of Sunday’s Court Leet market telling people all about it,” said the current chair of Alcester Royal British Legion and former town, district and county councillor.
And he acknowledges Ann is just one of many women in the Gittus family to whom he owes a huge debt of thanks.
“My wife Di has supported me through all my time in local government – my mother, my sister and my daughters – I have been lucky enough to have had the support and advice of all these women in my life,” he said.
He also praised former district council colleague Sue Adams for all her support too.
“It’s a medal that I’ve been given but without them I could not have devoted so much time and energy – nearly 14 years – to the work that brought it about.”
Mike, a former chair of Stratford district council, said the inspiration for a life serving the community had come from his grandfather, Harry Gittus.
“He held all the positions in the community that I have held and in many ways when I set out to work as a volunteer in the community – previously I’d done it professionally as a police officer – it was his example that was in my mind,” he said.
Mike announced his retirement from local politics in the run-up to the local elections in May.