Engineer helper and fire chief honoured

Evesham Journal: David Yates was awarded an MBE. David Yates was awarded an MBE.

AN inspirational school volunteer and a former chief fire officer have been honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

David Yates, a retired engineer and volunteer at Church Lench Church of England First School, near Evesham, has been awarded an MBE for services to education.

The 79-year-old, of Church Lench, has inspired a generation of youngsters to be the engineers of the future after introducing an afterschool class in 150 schools across the country.

"I'm very pleased," he said. "It was quite unexpected. The last thing I would be doing is expecting or gunning for that."

The grandfather-of-three started his engineering career as an apprentice when he was 17 before going to study at Queen Mary's University in London in the 1950s.

He worked his way up working for various companies before he finally become chief engineer at Allen Gears, in Pershore, until his retirement in 1996.

"In 1996 there was a great shortage of engineers," he said. "What do you do to get more engineers? My reasoning was to encourage children at an early age to be interested in engineering. And it works.

"I get the children to make little projects, each one could keep all of the work which shows the engineering principle. It became very popular."

His first afterschool club at Church Lench First School was so well received, he enlisted the help of fellow engineers who ran similar clubs in other schools in the area and by 2002, 30 schools had signed up.

And after joining up with charity The Imagineering Foundation and securing funding from engineering institutes and the Chamber of Commerce in Worcester, the idea was rolled out to 150 schools across the country.

"It gives me a lot of satisfaction in seeing the children, it's like having a number of grandchildren," added Mr Yates. "They are all very pleased because they have actually made something."

Meanwhile, the former chief fire officer of Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service medal.

Jon Hall, the current director of training at the Fire Service College in Moreton, was recognised in theQueen’s birthday honours list in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the fire service.

“I am lucky to have worked with so many people who have dedicated their lives to helping others," he said.

"It’s not just the front-line rescue services, but also the many thousands of support and voluntary workers that make our emergency services so effective.

“I am proud to have been recognised in this way, and I look forward to continuing my work with fire and rescue services through the development and delivery of cross-agency training and exercising for emergency responders.”

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