Michael Fillenham from Dereham awarded British Empire Medal in New Year Honours

Michael Fillenham has been awarded the British Empire Medal. Picture: Ian Burt

Michael Fillenham has been awarded the British Empire Medal. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Retired education officer Michael Fillenham, 70, from Dereham, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).

In 1990, he founded the Western Area Clerks Association (WACA), after becoming clerk to the governors at king Edward VII High School, in King's Lynn - where he had been a pupil as a boy.

It aimed to give the clerks of school governing bodies a forum where they could share best practice and access support and training.

'Everything was towards Norwich,' he said. 'We seemed like the poor cousins in the west of the county in King's Lynn going up to the borders of Cambridgeshire.

'I thought I'd sound out other clerks, see what they thought about it and the association was born.'

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Elected chair at the first meeting, he has remained in the post for 26 years during which time he has overseen support given to hundreds of clerks.

'The role o governing bodies has changed over the years and the role of the clerk has become mor important,' he said.

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WACA brings together clerks from maintained schools and academies, encouraging collaboration and shared experience.

Mr Finnerton, who lives in Vicarage Meadows, Dereham, with his wife, the Rev Canon Sally Theakston, still works as clerk and trustee for the King Edward VII school foundation charity.

He also volunteers one day at week at Greyfriars Primary School, in King's Lynn, which he also attended.

Of receiving the honour, he said: 'I was completely astonished, I really didn't expect anything like that at all. There must be thousands of people in Norfolk who do voluntary work and don't expect any reward.'

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