New Year honour for quarry man

PUBLISHED: 09:55 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:57 11 May 2010

JOHN DRAYTON: There have been so many good times. 3277DW016

JOHN DRAYTON: There have been so many good times. 3277DW016

A LONG-serving quarry manager has been made an MBE in the New Year s Honours list. John Drayton, 59, who manages the Cemex plant in Barrington, receiced the award for services to the quarry industry, and geology. Mr Drayton has been working at the Barrin

A LONG-serving quarry manager has been made an MBE in the New Year's Honours list.

John Drayton, 59, who manages the Cemex plant in Barrington, receiced the award for services to the quarry industry, and geology.

Mr Drayton has been working at the Barrington plant since 1970, and was recognised for helping to make geology accessible to the public.

He said the honour came as a "complete shock".

"You get told you've been nominated but don't find out whether or not you've got the award until New Year's Eve itself, so it was a really nice surprise," said Mr Drayton.

"I'm waiting to hear when I'll actually go and pick it up, but it'll be some time in the next six months."

Having joined the cement works as a carpenter, Mr Drayton has progressed through the ranks at the firm, holding the positions of yard foreman and general site foreman before being appointed quarry manager.

He said: "I've been interested in geology and archaeology for about 20 years.

"We used to have a Dr Peter Sheldon, who was a professor at the Open University, visit the site twice a year, and I got talking to him and it's grown from there into a full time hobby."

With the Barrington site having been made a Site of Specialist Scientific Interest, Mr Drayton regularly takes groups of school children and university students on tours of the quarry.

He also gives talks to clubs and societies.

Over the years, the quarry manager has made a number of important historical discoveries at the site, including a host of Roman artefacts, and a shark's tooth, which was unearthed last year.

In 2005 he uncovered the remains of an ichthyosaur while conducting a routine geological search at the quarry.

The bones and teeth are now on display at the Natural History Museum in London.

"That's probably one of the best memories I have, but there have been so many good times," he said.

"Another proud moment was having a railway engine named after me. I donated it to the Rutland Railway museum and they named it Mr D.

"It used to take me to and from work every day along the works line so that was a special moment."

While the future looks bleak for Barrington Cement Works itself, with the site set to cease operation in the next couple of months, Mr Drayton will remain at the quarry in the role of caretaker.

"I'm really grateful to have the job, and it will allow me to continue to do the tours and give talks," he said.

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