Steyning champion surprised by honour

S14520078x  Martin Leigh-Pollitt, MBE, with his wife Michelle
S14520078x Martin Leigh-Pollitt, MBE, with his wife Michelle

A COMMUNITY champion has dedicated his MBE honour to his fellow volunteers who help make Steyning so special.

Martin Leigh-Pollitt, 71, admitted he was ‘utterly surprised’ when he received the letter announcing he had been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.

The town stalwart, who lives in Bramber, is a key member of groups such as Steyning Area First Responders.

He said: “I was utterly surprised by this honour, it was fantastic.

“It is a very active community and one of those places where so many people give up their time to support the community in so many different ways.

“I think really this has to be regarded as a shared honour to all those who join with me in trying to achieve things and who work so hard to make Steyning such a delightful place. My thanks are to them.”

Martin, a retired chartered surveyor, who worked with central government as well as in West Sussex, has lived in the Steyning area for around 40 years.

He has become well-known due to his involvement in several organisations.

Praising other volunteers in the town, Martin asked ‘Why me?’

He said: “It is a fantastic recognition of all the things that go on around here and the organisations that I am delighted to support. I get a great deal of fun out of it.

“The letter is the sort of thing you read two or three times.”

As part of Martin’s work with the first responders, the group has installed several defibrillators for emergency use in the area.

He is also involved with the local parish, Steyning and District Community Partnership and Steyning and Henfield Rotary Club.

He helped to establish the Steyning and District Food and Drink Festival, with the inaugural event taking place in August, 2013.

He said it gives local businesses an opportunity to showcase their produce and attract visitors to Steyning.

Martin revealed that his wife, Michelle, was the only person to know about the honour until early last week, when it was made public.

He said: “I think she was equally surprised and delighted.

“Obviously I couldn’t have found the time to do all those things without her 

His family was holding a small celebration in honour of the achievement.