New Year honour for John

John Lord of Hough on the Hill, awarded BEM for services to the community. Pictured with his wood carvings in the village church. EMN-191230-133922001
John Lord of Hough on the Hill, awarded BEM for services to the community. Pictured with his wood carvings in the village church. EMN-191230-133922001

A retired farmer has been awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to the community spanning more than 50 years.

John Lord, 83, of Hough-on-the-Hill, is thought to have been nominated for the BEM by several local people after living his entire life in the village, serving for over 50 years as a church warden and organising the village fete.

He said he received the letter notifying of his New Year Honour about six weeks agpo but was sworn to secrecy until the official announcements.

Mr Lord said: “I was most surprised. Over time people have appreciated what I have done in the village and put my name forward.”

A self-taught wood carver, he has made pulpit, a lectern and altar rails for the local church and a bishop’s chair for Belton church, as well as a nativity scene and a lychgate. He has also carved a plaque for lincoln Cathedral.

He said: “I have done quite a lot of work in the church and the carvings have put the church on the map.”

Mr Lord is also particularly proud of attracting the National Hedge Laying Championships to the village four years ago. He said: “We had about 100 entries which was good. I just look after hedges and plant them. We farmers often get a lot of stick for pulling them up so it is nice to show that it was not always the case and what we do for the countryside.”

He added: “I have always been a hands-on do-it-yourself man and so I started wood carving in the mid-1980s and it has gone from there. We have a carving group that meets every Saturday at my place, with up to 12 of us attending and we do our own thing and make some good things.”

He has also made and installed several owl nesting boxes on his family farm which are visited each July by a licensed inspector to survey the owl population.

Mr Lord said: “They are placed on the edge of a field. I was busy cleaning out the boxes this week ready for th enesting season.

“We average about eight chicks a year although sometimes more or sometimes none. The inspector told me we have more barn owls here than in the whole of Hertfordshire.”

Over the last ten years his boxes have seen about 80 owls fledge.

Mr Lord’s nomination drew attention to him always being active and available to all residents as well as using his practical skills to benefit the village.