A Steyning man will finally be able to tell his family he has been awarded an MBE on his 75th birthday today (Thursday December 31).
Brian Doick, the president of the National Association for Park Home Residents, has been named in the New Year’s Honours List - but has been sworn to secrecy for weeks.
The ex-firefighter, who served from the stations in Worthing and Shoreham for 33 years, was honoured for services to the park home industry.
And he described breaking the news to his family as ‘the perfect birthday present’.
He said: “It is strictly confidential. I would have liked to have told my family, my sons and daughter, but if that is what they are asking for, you have to do it.
“Officially you can tell them on December 31, which is my birthday, which is the perfect present.
“I was quite surprised and very delighted to be honest, it is something you don’t imagine is going to happen. I keep looking at the letter to see if it is right.
“I don’t know who nominated me, but I thank them very much for doing so.”
Brian has been helping the national housing association for more than 25 years, attending government meetings and helping to change laws.
He said that park homes, mobile properties about the size of a large bungalow, are usually inhabited by ‘vulnerable’ elderly people.
He was inspired to join the association after an experience with an ‘unscrupulous park owner shortly after moving on to a mobile home park in 1986.
He added: “You buy these homes and own them but you don’t own the land, so you have to pay rent.
“We work with the government and councils to try to get better conditions for people that live in the parks.
“We do it to help people that are vulnerable, they are usually over 55, have sold their houses and moved into cheaper accommodation. They don’t want any trouble or aggravation.”
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