A dairy farmer and a Sister from Mid Sussex have been included in the New Year’s Honours list alongside the likes of BRadley Wiggins, Jessica Ennis and actor Ewan McGregor.
George Butler, 79, becomes an MBE for his services to agriculture and charity.
“It is quite staggering and a real honour,” he said. “Nothing like this has ever happened in my family before. I really wasn’t expecting it.”
Mr Butler has been working in agriculture his entire life. His family moved to Danehill in 1951 and they have been dairy farming in the area ever since.
He is the owner and manager of a highly acclaimed, accredited organic dairy herd and is the producer of St Giles Cheese, which was voted best British Cheese in 2010.
The organic cows’ milk his herd produces travels across the yard at Tremains Farm in Horsted Keynes to the Weald Dairy.
He said: “The countryside is my heaven. I am a country boy through and through, I’d much rather go on holiday to the beautiful countryside in Scotland than sit on a beach in Spain.”
Mr Butler will be taking his brother and sister to Buckingham Palace when he meets the Queen and is made an MBE.
“It is quite staggering and a real honour for my family as well,” he said. “Farming is just a fantastic life. I get a real satisfaction from my job through the good times and bad.”
Throughout his career Mr Butler has given his time generously to support local and national agricultural organisations promoting agriculture and farming education, particularly to schoolchildren.
Through his long association with the South of England Agricultural Society (SEAS) and recognised as the driving force behind the NFU/SEAS Meet the Farmer Committee, he has given his time generously and tirelessly, stewarding the main agricultural events and providing the other stewards with refreshments during the day out of his own funds.
Mr Butler was also recognised for his charity work – he has been a fundraiser for various charities since the 1970s.
He has played a key role in the Sussex Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, running an annual social evening for the past 30 years which now raises in excess of £10,000 per year. He has also raised funds for Cancer Research and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.
Sister Mary Thomas (Agnes Dunne) also becomes an MBE – for services to ‘St George’s Park Retirement Village’. She has taken the lead in the creation of this state-of-the-art care village which enables older people to live an active and fulfilled life in a secure and supportive environment.
Sister Mary told the Catholic news website: “I accept this MBE on behalf of the community of the Sisters of St Augustine and all those we are privileged to serve in our care homes.
“I recognise that the award is given not just to myself but in recognition, too, of my own religious community and many other professionals who have worked with us over these years to assist the elderly and most vulnerable in our society.”