Peter Lusher, of Trundle Mead, Horsham, was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for voluntary services to the community.
He told the County Times he had no idea his name had been put forward and said he is ‘overwhelmed’ to have been one of the few to be selected from the thousands of nominations.
“I want to thank all those kind people for their diligence in recommending me for an award,” he said.
“It is a great surprise and a humbling experience.”
Mr Lusher has lived in Horsham for more than 50 years and through that time has been involved consistently in voluntary work with the community in Horsham District.
This began in 1960, when he established a small club for the elderly through Horsham Old Peoples’ Welfare Committee, later to become Horsham District Age Concern with a purpose-built day centre in 1968.
He was chairman of Age Concern for many years, and edited their magazine for about 17 years.
In 1977, when Mr Lusher was chairman of Horsham Social Services Liaison Committee, he was asked to investigate the viability of establishing a hospice for terminally ill patients.
He brought together interested people, and launched the project in 1978.
It captured the public’s imagination and funds were raised to start building in 1982.
St Catherine’s Hospice was opened in 1983.
Since then the hospice has provided palliative care for thousands of people in north Sussex and south east Surrey, and is now among the biggest local charities, raising around £8m per year.
In 1999 Peter Lusher was made vice president of the hospice.
His voluntary work brought him in regular touch with a great variety of organisations and public bodies, enabling him to develop initiatives both social and medical to improve the quality of life for the elderly.
None of this would have been possible without the support of his wife and many other people.
“I am retired now from so much voluntary work,” he said, “but I think that this honour recognises past service.
“I could not have done it alone and I am glad that so many people joined in what I believed in and can share in our achievements.”