WELL-known March businessman Freddie Grounds has spoken of his delight and surprise after being honoured by the Queen in the New Year’s Honours list.
Mr Grounds (69) was awarded the MBE for voluntary service to the East Anglia Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.
He was notified of the award in a letter at the end of November but initially did not register the honour.
“It came in a letter one Saturday at the end of November. It was an official letter from the Lord Chancellor but I didn’t really take much notice and I put it on the bottom of a pile to deal with,” explained Mr Grounds, who has been involved with the Association for over 10 years.
He is currently chairman of the Association’s Employers Support Group, which acts as liaison between employers and staff members who are territorial volunteers.
But this is just one of Mr Grounds’ many voluntary roles.
He is also: Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire - a post he has held since 1989; President of the Cambridgeshire Regiment Association; President of Cambridgeshire Old Comrades Association (Royal Anglian Regiment); and President of March Anglian Players.
He was Mayor of March twice in 1977 and 1989 and chairman of Fenland District Council from 1981 to 1983..
The father of four has been married to wife Judith for over 45 years.
He is a well-known businessman in March - he is the senior partner in the valuers, auctioneers and estate agents Grounds & Co. - the family business which dates back to at least 1792.
The firm has three branches in March, Chatteris and Wisbech.
Speaking of the award Mr Grounds said: “It is something I do on a voluntary basis and I never sought or expected any reward. Obviously I am grateful that the people I work with considered my efforts worthy of recognition and put my name forward.
“It came completely out of the blue - I had no idea whatsoever, I didn’t anticipate it, seek it or expect it but I’m greatly honoured.”
The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, which was published on Friday, also included Leonard Dunbar, of Wisbech, a Senior Officer at Whitemoor Prison in March.
He was also awarded the MBE for his work with the Prison Service.