Each New Year we all have great admiration for the local champions who have been singled out and recognised for their loyal dedication to various worthy causes.

This year I was particularly thrilled to read in the Halesowen News that Rudy Parkes, a Watch Commander at Old Hill Fire Station, has been awarded an MBE for his services to fundraising and voluntary work.

Despite his unquestionable commitment to his long and successful career in the Fire Service, and as a voluntary member of the UK’s International Search & Rescue Team, Rudy has also chosen to dedicate a great deal of his spare time to help improve the lives of young children in deprived countries abroad whilst also supporting other worthwhile charities here in the UK. Some readers may not know that Rudy is also more than happy to lend his support to smaller local fundraising activities. In July last year, when approached by myself and fellow members of the fundraising committee for the Holy Trinity Church in Old Hill, Rudy very kindly agreed to present a talk for us about his personal, and very harrowing, rescue efforts working with the IS&R team following both the Haiti and Japan disasters. The proceeds from this well-attended event went towards the Repair & Regeneration Appeal and for this we are all very grateful to him.

Rudy is very modest when talking about his involvement with the many charities and overseas projects he has worked with over the years and yet his enthusiasm for what he actually achieves in helping to support these causes is clear for everyone to see. Now that he has finally been recognised in this way, undoubtedly it will be an immensely proud day for him and his family, friends and colleagues when he goes to Buckingham Palace to receive this esteemed award.

Well done and many Congratulations to you Rudy….you deserve it.

Cllr Liz Bowler Cradley Heath & Old Hill