LAST week’s rising river levels caused more than a few moments of concern for Alcester stalwart Mike Gittus, who this week received the British Empire Medal at a special ceremony at Shire Hall in Warwick.
Mike puts his official recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List down to the work he did, along with then Councillors Sue Adams and Eric Payne and a host of others, in establishing good flood defences in Alcester after the town was inundated with water in 2007.
“Alcester suffered dreadfully in the floods of July 2007,” he said.
“I realised that someone had to head up a team to deal with the situation and with Eric and Sue and others we talked the talk and were everywhere, lobbying our MP and doing whatever we could for four years.
“Eventually we had a multi-million scheme and I’m pleased to say, despite localised flooding in other parts, there was no repeat in the town itself, although I did have my fingers crossed.”
Inspired by his grandfather Harry Gittus, Mike has spent a lifetime in public service, first as a police officer and then serving Alcester as a county, district and town councillor.
He is currently chairman of Alcester Royal British Legion.
His BEM citation read for ‘Meritorious Service to Alcester’.
Reflecting on the achievement, he praised ‘the women in his life’ – his wife Di, his mother, two sisters and his five daughters – for giving him the freedom to pursue public office.
“They were all there to see the presentation, which was by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Tim Cox. It was a very proud day,” he said.
“However, although I’ve received this award, I am very conscious there are many other people in Alcester who have worked with me and who undoubtedly deserve the same kind of honour.”