ENTREPRENEUR Simon Rigby has been named among community heroes on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
The millionaire, who owns major organisations including Preston’s Guild Hall, is to be awarded an MBE for services to business in the north of England.
He is listed among teachers, volunteers and charity leaders, and said he was “bowled over” by the news.
Mr Rigby said: “I’m going to write to all the staff and thank them because, if you look at the business we do in the north of England, I’m the gaffer but if you look at the work done on the ground it’s done by 2,500 staff.
“So really, it’s for all of us.
“I think it’s great for the whole team, it’s recognition of the efforts of the whole team.”
Mr Rigby will be invited to Buckingham Palace later this year to accept the honour.
He said: “I lost my mum, Agnes, 10 years ago, she would have loved it.
“She would have been there with her hat on.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic.”
Another successful businessman, Martin Ainscough, has also been listed, and has been made a CBE for “philanthropic services to charity, education and young people in Wigan”.
The chairman of the Wigan Youth Zone gifted a million pounds to the new youth zone initiative in Chorley, to support the project.
The father of five said he was “absolutely delighted” to receive the CBE, adding: “It is a great honour and it goes without saying that I am thrilled to pieces.
“It is nice to get recognised for some of your efforts although it really is a team effort from people around me and my family.
“You never set out to do this sort of thing for recognition. I get my satisfaction from seeing what happens to the young children at the Youth Zone and so on.
“I am in a privileged position to help people, not only with money but my time and work as well. I am a lucky guy.”
Former technician at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Sal Tracey, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to higher education.
The 66-year-old has worked at the centre for 50 years as a chemistry technician and later a forensic technician.
Sal said she was shocked to be give the honour, but said: “I have devoted myself to the Harris College, that then became Preston Polytechnic and then Lancashire Polytechnic and then UCLan – I’ve seen a lot of changes.
“I was given an award by the university for outstanding service to UCLan, and I said I must be the only person here to see the Fylde building go up and come down.”
The Preston North End fan described her time at UCLan as “absolutely fabulous”, and said: “I was absolutely astounded at this (the BEM), and I though I’m not sure I deserve this.
“Students have been my life, they really have.”
Nationally, veteran singer Rod Stewart and orbiting British astronaut Tim Peake are among 1,149 people to be acclaimed in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Other well-known faces to be honoured include Forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn, TV duo Ant and Dec, actor Brian Blessed and actress Penelope Wilton.