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A former Harold Wood pupil will receive a British Empire Medal for services to community radio.

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Danny Lawrence, 46, who grew up in Penrith Road, Harold Hill and attended Redden Court School in Cotswold Road, Harold Wood, began his career doing work experience at Harold Wood Hospital radio in 1979.

He has been involved in community radio for many years and is now a director of Community Media Association, the format’s representative body.

He is also a conservative councillor and deputy mayor of Basildon Council, and combines his civic duties with his slot on Basildon and East Thurrock’s Gateway 97.8.

Danny, now of Billericay, says he always wanted to be a radio presenter.

“It is an honour to be recognised by the industry that I adore so passionately”, he said,

“It goes to show if you have a dream you can fulfil it if you work hard enough.”

Former chairman of Essex County Council, Gerard McEwen, will also receive a British Empire Medal for his services to the community.

The 84-year-old, from Ingatestone, Brentwood, served on the council for 24 years before stepping down in March – and was council chairman from 2006-08.

“It was a total surprise, I’m a bit bewildered by it all – it should have gone to my wife Maggie! I am excited though,” said Gerard,

After receiving the letter in November, the conservative politician said he found it hard to keep it a secret from his family.

He joked: “It was difficult but I managed it as I didn’t want to get beheaded or stuck in the Tower of London!”

Brentwood charity volunteer Janet Anne Brewer, secretary of the London North East branch of SSAFA has also been awarded the British Empire Medal for voluntary service to SSAFA.

Eve Farraud, 42, from Collier Row also received the British Empire Medal for services to the construction industry having worked for The Construction Industry Council (CIC) for 16 years.

And Anne Laura Bryden, former language teacher at St. Edward’s Church of England School and Sixth Form College, Havering, has been awarded an MBE for services to education.

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