A TIPTREE man has been awarded with a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for his services to the village.

Ray Banks, 78, is a verger at St Luke’s Church in the village, and after moving to Tiptree in 1987 has run the village’s youth amateur dramatic society for almost a decade.

He has been recognised for his work in the latest honours list, picking up a BEM. A recognition he wasn’t expecting.

Mr Banks said: “I was absolutely stunned to receive it. I have no idea who nominated me or even why. I do my bit in the village and always have, but I do it because I enjoy doing it, not for any recognition.

“I had a letter come through from the cabinet office saying that I was nominated for a BEM award and I was delighted.”

After the villages adult amateur dramatic society stopped in 2009, Mr Banks decided to introduce a youth version, KYDS.

He has been president of the club ever since, and has watched it go from strength to strength.

“It has proven to be very popular,” said Mr Banks.

“We are getting sold out performances now which is wonderful. The last one we did before Christmas was fantastic.

“It shows the great spirit in the village. I moved up here in 1987 and fell in love with the place. It is a lovely village with lovely people.

“When I do have to occasionally travel back to London I am always very pleased to head back to Tiptree.”

KYDS is a registered charity aiming to provide young people with valuable skills they can use in later life through performing arts workshops and activities.

To find out more about their work, visit kyds.org.uk.