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Duo's delight at New Year Honours awards
TWO men from the Basingstoke area have been recognised in the New Year Honours list for their charitable work.
Mike Miller-Smith was awarded an MBE for helping scores of people learn to fly with the charity Aerobility.
And Terry Thornhill, the managing director of Chineham-based Toucan Travel, will receive a British Empire Medal for services to people with disabilities, and to the community of Basingstoke.
The two men were among a handful of people in Hampshire to be recognised by The Queen, in a list dominated by British athletes who triumphed at the London 2012 Olympics.
Mr Miller-Smith, who was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in his 20s, joined the British Disabled Flying Association, as Aerobility used to be known, in 2003.
A keen pilot, he helped others to learn to fly as a committee member and as chief executive, his current position in the charity.
Aerobility, which is based at Blackbushe Airport, near Hartley Wintney, has also helped British soldiers injured in the Afghanistan conflict take to the skies.
He told The Gazette: “I’m absolutely bowled over.
Normally when you get a brown envelope it’s something from the taxman, but it was great to get something from the Government saying that I was getting something incredible.”
Mr Thornhill, from Old Basing, received a call from the Cabinet Office to tell him of his honour while he was on an eight-week business trip with his wife Barbara in Florida.
The 71-year-old was a leading figure in the organisation of the Basingstoke Carnival and the Mayor’s fireworks display.
His firm also donates 50 balloon rides each year to local charities, and for the past 20 years has worked closely with Basingstoke ICE, which helps disabled children go on holiday.
He said: “I am absolutely thrilled by it. I would like to thank my family over the years who have put up with me doing these things, and all the people I have worked with at the charities – they are all great people.”
Also honoured was David Glasenbury, a special physical education adviser for the National Police College at Bramshill, who was awarded an MBE.
Elsewhere in Hampshire, Lucie- Jane Lewis became an MBE for her fundraising for the Naomi House hospice in Sutton Scotney.
Inspector Julie Fry, of Hampshire Constabulary, was awarded an MBE for her work for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.