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SINCE the 1960s, Richard Giles has been the driving force behind the popular carnival in the village and now he has named in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for all of his efforts.

Mr Giles first became involved with Pewsey Carnival aged just 17 in 1961 and having served as a former chairman, to this day he continues to take informal positions to ensure the carnival is a roaring success.

Now, Mr Giles has been awarded his British Empire Medal for his continued service to Pewsey where he currently serves as the founder and president of the Zixex Club.

The 72-year-old was contacted a month ago by the Cabinet Office asking if he would be prepared to accept the prestigious title – a decision that left him completely speechless.

"The letter came completely out of the blue and you couldn't find a better situation for the word speechless," he said. "Not only that, I didn't know why I had been nominated or who was behind it. I even phoned them back to say who nominated me but they weren't allowed to say."

The group behind Pewsey Carnival eventually told Mr Giles that they were behind the recommendation which they first put into motion two years ago.

"There hadn't been a carnival in Pewsey in 1960 because it stumbled due to insufficient support," Mr Giles added. "It was very much ingrained in people in Pewsey so a group of us school boys decided to go to a public meeting one night to see what was going on.

"We dared to speak and somehow ended up joining the committee.

"These days it seems like it wouldn't be cool to get involved but in those days there was very little to do. One of the very first jobs we took on we are still doing today, 56 years later, which is the candle lights on the River Avon."

Under his tenure with the committee, which stretches back to 1963, the carnival received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2007. Mr Giles also served on the Pewsey Parish Council for many years where he helped maintain and improve the area as well as taking the lead on the Plant a Tree campaign in 1973, overseeing some 600 trees planted in the parish.

The Pewsey man was also honoured for his time as a magistrate.

Mr Giles added: "The support and response from people has been heart-warming but you can't help feel almost embarrassed because there are so many people out there that are also deserving of an honour."

He will be presented with the award by the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire Sarah Troughton in the next few months.