County celebrates its MBEs in city ceremony

Two Norfolk men who have served the county in very different ways for several decades were made MBEs at County Hall yesterday.

Both John Idiens and Jack Chippendale elected to receive their honours in Norfolk rather than at Buckingham Palace, and the intimate ceremony allowed for more members of their families to attend.

Mr Chippendale, 87, who lives in Wroxham, was honoured for his contribution to the boatbuilding industry, which he has been involved for more than 70 years.

Originally from Hampshire, he started his career in 1939 as an aprentice before founding Chippendale Craft Ltd in 1954.

His company was responsible for making the majority of the world championship winning dinghies during the 1950s and 60s, and he retired from commercial boatbuilding production in 1990.

He said: 'It is nice to get it, but I have just had an exceptionally good and fortunate life in boatbuilding.

'I started when I was 14 and I'm now 87 and still involved – so that's 73 years. I still enjoy it.

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'I suspect we must have built about 4,000 boats in my time.

'One of the proudest boats we've built is Storm, which we built in 1983 and I believe is the fastest boat on the Broads. It was the biggest racing cruiser built since the second world war, but we were mainly known for building about 20 world championship boats.'

Mr Idiens, 76, who lives in West Runton near Sheringham, is a National Trust volunteer, and has worked tirelessly for the Trust in Runton since moving to Norfolk 30 years ago.

He has helped transform tracts of north Norfolk heathland and is one of 20 National Trust volunteers tending West Runton heath which is just over his garden fence.

Each winter, he and his colleagues chainsaw rhododendrons, cut saplings, and clear gorse and brambles choking the heath, allowing the carpet of heather to thrive.

Their work has regenerated the heath, and has led to the return of all sorts of wildlife including nightjars.

He said: 'I'm very proud to get the honour and proud of the people I have worked with. This is for them as much as for me. '

He said he wanted to receive the honour in Norfolk because of the role the county had played in his work and life.

The two men's citations were read by BBC presenter Carol Bundock, who is also a deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk.

Presenting the awards, the Lord-Lieutenant of Norfolk, Richard Jewson, who is also chairman of Archant, which publishes the Eastern Daily Press and the Evening News, said: 'Dishing out gongs on behalf of the Queen is one of the best things I do in my role.'

He said he could empathise with both men as he had an interest in boatbuilding and also looks after his own woodland.

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