Lancashire credit union president and Royal Marine charity stalwart gets his OBE from Princess Anne
The president of a Lancashire credit union has been presented with an OBE in recognition of his long time voluntary service with a national ex-servicemen’s charity.
Veteran Ron Bell, 66, was invested as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the 2020 New Years’ Honours list for ‘Services to the Royal Marines’ following his seven-year tenure as national chairman of the charity.
He is also a founder member of the Blackpool Branch of the Royal Marines Association which was re-formed in 2003.
A local businessman and former Blackpool councillor who represented Talbot ward with his brother Gary from 2007 to 2011, Ron has also been involved with the credit union CLEVR Money since its launch in 2009 and has been its president since January 2016.
Ron received his medal from The Princess Royal Princess Anne at Windsor Castle in a recent ceremony following an 18-month delay due to Covid. His wife Brenda was able to watch proceedings while daughter Kerry, son-in-law Andy and grandson James were there to help celebrate afterwards.
He said: “It was a great honour to be awarded the OBE and have it presented by Princess Anne in the State Apartments in Windsor Castle. She was very well briefed on each recipient and wanted to chat about the Royal Marines as her father was the Captain General Royal Marines for 64 years.
“She also asked about CLEVR Money as she saw tremendous value in the work we do and was very interested to know how it was going. I was delighted to be able to tell her what a fantastic job the credit union is doing in helping local people to access fair credit and avoid bad debt.”
As the local credit union, CLEVR Money provides savings and loans for people living or working on the Fylde coast and Preston. A not-for-profit, community focused ethical company, the credit union ensures people have access to affordable loans and aren’t forced into borrowing from payday lenders and loan sharks.
Jackie Colebourne, co-manager of CLEVR Money, said: “Ron is an extremely hard working president who gives up huge amounts of his time to support causes which are close to his heart, and he plays an invaluable role at CLEVR Money.
“As part of the Blackpool branch of the RMA, Ron proudly represented the town as national chairman of the charity where he chaired a team that revitalised the charity's services and increased its membership massively during his time with them.
“We are absolutely delighted to see Ron being recognised for his dedication to helping others and, on behalf of the staff and board of directors, we want to congratulate him on this well-deserved honour.”