A community champion from Bramber has dedicated his MBE honour to his fellow volunteers that help to make Steyning so special.
Martin Leigh-Pollitt, 71, admitted he was ‘utterly surprised’ when he received the letter announcing he had been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.
The town stalwart is a key member of local groups such as Steyning Area First Responders.
He said: “I was utterly surprised by this honour, it was fantastic.
“It is a very active community and one of those places where so many people give up their time to support the community in so many different ways.
“I think really this has to be regarded as a shared honour to all those who join with me in trying to achieve things and who work so hard to make Steyning such a delightful place. My thanks are to them.”
Martin, a retired chartered surveyor who worked with central government as well as in West Sussex, has lived in the Steyning area for around 40 years.
He has become well known in the area due to his involvement in several organisations.
Praising other volunteers in the town, Martin asked ‘why me?!’
He said: “It is a fantastic recognition of all the things that go on around here and the organisations that I am delighted to support.
“I get a great deal of fun out of it.
“The letter is the sort of thing you read two or three times.”
As part of Martin’s work with the first responders, the group has installed several defibrillators for emergency use in the area.
He is also involved with the local parish, Steyning and District Community Partnership, and the Rotary Club of Steyning and Henfield.
He helped to establish the Steyning and District Food and Drink Festival, with the inaugural festival taking place in August 2013.
He said it gives local businesses an opportunity to showcase their produce and attract visitors to Steyning.
Martin told the County Times that his wife was the only person to know about the honour until earlier this week.
He said: “I think she was equally surprised and delighted.
“Obviously I couldn’t have found the time to do all those things without her support.”
He added that the family will be holding a small celebration in honour of the achievement.