The man awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to Lincolnshire’s rich bomber heritage says he has never felt so humble.
Harold Clifford Panton - who established the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby with his late brother, Fred, in 1987 - has received the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The Centre is a commemoration to their brother, Christopher, who was killed on the Nuremburg raid in March 1944.
On Monday, Harold said he went along to the centre to sit in the chapel, where the names of 800 men who lost their lives after flying out of East Kirkby during the Second World War are placed on the memorial.
“it took quite a while for the news of the BEM to sink in,” said Harold, aged 85. “It’s very humbling to receive the award.
“I came to sit in the chapel today to sit by the memorial with the names of the 800 men who flew out of East Kirkby and lost there lives.
“I started the aviation centre 31 years ago with my brother, who as the eldest was honoured before he died.
“I cannot thank the people who nominated me and have supported the aviation centre over the years.
“This really cane as a bolt out of the blue.”
Harold is still heavily involved in the day to day running of the centre with the next generation of Pantons. Fred Panton sadly passed away in June 2013.
Also receiving a BEM in Lincolnshire for services to education is Pamela Jane Powell. chair of Governors Chapel St Leonards Primary School, Grantham Additional Needs Fellowship and Woodlands Academy, Spilsby.
Lincolnshire Co-op’s Chief Executive, Ursula Lidbetter, has been honoured with an OBE for her services to the local economy, after 15 years at the helm of one of the county’s largest employers.