Village leader awarded BEM for community centre build and more

Duxford Parish Council chairman Peter Dee has been awarded a BEM for services to the community.

Duxford Parish Council chairman Peter Dee has been awarded a BEM for services to the community. - Credit: Peter Dee

A Duxford community stalwart has said he was "chuffed to bits" to be recognised in The Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to the village.

Peter Dee has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his successful management of the building of a new community centre in Duxford and more. 

The £1.3 million centre will open when when the pandemic has eased and government restrictions allow. It has taken almost a decade to come to fruition and Peter's management of the project has been "inspiring" for the village to witness. 

Peter, who is chair of the parish council, told this newspaper: "I was chuffed to bits, and I was embarrassed - because it's not just me, there have been so many people involved - but I suppose someone has to lead it."

He added that his family and friends are delighted, and he has had many messages of support from the community.

Peter -  who has lived in Duxford for 30 years and joked that he's still seen as 'new' in the area - said: ""The village is better for the community centre, its a hub for people to be able to congregate at.

"We're well served here with two pubs and places to eat. As a council we have invested a lot in the village - it's just a lovely place to live."

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Peter has been involved with calendar highlight the Duxford Soap Box Derby, which is held in memory of village Phil Hill, since the beginning in 2013.

Phil's wife Pam joined together with friends to put on the derby in memory of her husband, who passed away from cancer aged 51. To date, it has raised more than £61,000 for charity.

Despite Councillor Dee's commitments to the parish, he still manages to be involved in every element of the derby - including road closures, sponsorship of the promotion signboards, prize giving, and auction and raffle prizes.

In 2017, the 72-year-old was also recognised with other volunteers by Greater Anglia trains for their outstanding work in creating a garden at Whittlesford Parkway.

When asked where he gets the energy from, he said he "enjoys getting involved" and when he retired he worried about getting bored - so got involved with a few different things and keeps at it "due to how rewarding it is".