British Empire Medal for mountain rescuer Keith

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A rescuer is receiving a top award for his service to the High Peak after being named in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Keith Birkitt, of Chapel–en–le–Frith, is to receive a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his work with the Buxton Mountain Rescue Team.

The 53–year–old said: “I got this letter from the Cabinet Office. I opened it and I was totally stunned when I read the contents which basically said I had been nominated for the award.

“I did think to myself ‘am I really good enough for this?’

“When you’re in the mountain rescue team you don’t think it is particularly special, you just go out and do it and carry on.”

Keith started volunteering for the mountain rescue team in 1994. He was inspired to do so following a hiking trip to the Lake District in which he happened to be involved in two separate rescues.

“It’s important to me because I am a mountaineer and a hill walker and I’d like to think someone would do the same for me if I had an accident,” Keith added.

He is part of the rope-rescue incident training group and has developed additional skills, including a national qualification in casualty care.

Keith also helps to fundraise for the charity. He works at the Health and Safety Laboratory and supports the work of the Health and Safety Executive.

Also named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List is Buxton Mountain Rescue Team President Ian Hurst, who is made an MBE in recognition of his half a century of service to mountain rescue.

Richard Body, a director of Torrs Hydro in New Mills, is made an MBE for services to the Hydro Electricity Industry, as is Disley parish councillor Diane Guy for services to the community in Disley.

High Peak residents receiving CBEs include Victoria Louise Beer, Executive Principal at Ashton-on-Mersey School in Trafford, for services to education; and Professor Philip John Gummett, lately Chief Executive of Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, for services to Higher Education in Wales.

Hope’s Paul Archer, Head of Contact Centres at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), also receives a CBE for services to DWP Contact Centres and to charitable fundraising.