It will be a double honour for the Burns’ household near Loughbrickland when councillor Ian Burns who was made a recipient of an MBE in this years Birthday Honours receives his award.
Wife of ten years Beverley, a civil servant with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment was recognised for her work in the New Years Honours in 2012.
So when the envelope arrived at their doorstep six weeks ago it just slightly spoiled the surprise for the pair.
“We knew as soon as we saw the envelope that it came from the Cabinet that it was to do with the honours,” said Ian. “My wife was delighted for me.”
Ian (47) received the award for services to local government and the community. He has been married ten years and has been a councillor with the Ulster Unionist Party for over 18 years.
He attended Abercorn Primary and Banbridge Academy and now works as a civil servant.
When news broke of Ian’s award, he received well wishes from far and near.
“I got a phone call from France which was a real shock,” said Ian. “
In 2011 I went to France and worked for the Somme Association where I met some lovely people. It was one of them that rang to congratulate me.”
Ian, has been a poppy seller since he was seven years old, and an active volunteer with the Macmillan Cancer Support. He takes a great deal of interest with the Special Olympics and set up the Victoria Club for pensioners in Banbridge.
“I feel very humbled, “ he said. “To get this award.
“I got an award for something that I enjoy doing and that is helping people.”
Meanwhile a Rathfriland woman who was organist with the First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church for over 60 years was also honoured.
Helena Malcolmson, will receive the British Empire Medal later this year for services to the community in Rathfriland.
Helena a former organist with the church for over 60 years retired from the choir last year.
Helena did not want any fuss to mark 60 years with the choir the congregation presented a cheque to the local Hospice on Helena’s behalf.
“I just did not want any fuss and I made that clear,” said Helena.
Helena received a letter recently her to tell her of the other good news
“I just put the letter down and tried to put it out of my mind,” she said.
“I was shocked and surprised but honoured. I was part of a great choir and have always received good support. ”