MBE honour after years of dedication

David Ashton in his office at the Mirfield College of the Resurrection, one of the many places he volunteers for.
David Ashton in his office at the Mirfield College of the Resurrection, one of the many places he volunteers for.
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A dedicated member of St Andrews in Purwell will receive an MBE for services to the Church of England and the community in Batley.

David Ashton, 74, was nominated for his tireless work as chairman of various committees and youth projects since becoming churchwarden in 1968.

Mr Ashton’s wife Angela, with whom he will celebrate a ruby wedding anniversary in October, put him up for the accolade with Canon Ian Gaskell and Bishop Nigel McCulloch.

“It came as a complete surprise,” said Mr Ashton, of Battyeford, Mirfield.

“I’m particularly proud because I consider myself just one of the normal members of the pew.

“I know I’m the longest serving member of the General Synod but I don’t get involved in the high politics.”

A lot of Mr Ashton’s efforts have involved youth work. He was a member of the Batley Youth Committee and the West Yorkshire County Council Youth Committee, later becoming involved with the North Kirklees Youth Committee.

Since 2006 he has been the chairman of the Mount Pleasant Friday Afternoon Social Club for over-60s at St Andrew’s, organising regular day trips and weekly meetings.

He also helped to raise thousands with the Mount Pleasant Community Project until 2008.

After receiving the news of his MBE, retired British Telecom manager Mr Ashton received a standing ovation from his pals in the pub.

“I walked through the door and they all stood up and clapped. It’s a bit emotional when you’re not expecting it,” he said.

And family joined Mr Ashton for a celebration at Don Luigi’s Italian restaurant in Hightown.

He was joined by daughter Kirsty Bland, son Mark and grandchildren Thomas, five, and Lucy, three.