A West Chiltington organist is set to be presented with a British Empire Medal for services to the community.
Peter Knowles, 86, will receive the royal honour from Lord Lieutenant Susan Pyper on Sunday February 14 in recognition of 65 years spent serving the parish.
The award presentation ceremony at West Chiltington’s St Mary’s Church follows his nomination on the Queen’s birthday honours list in June last year.
Peter said: “It’s going to be a privilege, no doubt about it.
“I didn’t expect anything at all, it was quite a surprise in a way, but now looking back this is certainly the highlight.”
Peter first moved to the village in 1949, where he has also served on the parish council and ran a recycling charity initiative.
His wife June said: “He’s feeling very, very proud, definitely, but at the same time very humble.”
Around 150 people are expected to attend the presentation and after party, including most of the couple’s five children, 15 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Peter retired from playing organ in November 2014, but his musical interest goes back to his childhood in Worthing.
“I used to play in school assemblies on the piano and once a week on Sunday in the church next door,” Peter explained.
“One or two times the organist failed to turn up and the headmaster said ‘Go on, you play’.”
He has used three organs, under eight rectors and five bishops of Horsham - including the first one.
Peter continued to play while he was on national service in Northern Ireland.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make our website your homepage at www.wscountytimes.co.uk
2 Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wscountytimes
3 Follow us on Twitter @wscountytimes
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
The County Times – always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.