We have some fantastic news to share with you all this evening.
After dedicating almost 45 years of his life to Hampshire’s Special Constabulary, Special Inspector Ken Avery has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours.
The 72-year-old, from Waterlooville, was shocked to receive such an accolade but hopes it will inspire others to follow in his footsteps.
As the honours are announced this evening, Ken has been recognised with a British Empire Medal for services to policing and the community of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Ken said: “I was amazed, flabbergasted and excited. I feel truly honoured to have been recognised in such a way.
“I’ve never been in this for the accolades and never thought my name would ever be on the New Year’s Honour list, I just wanted to help my community.
“We have had a really tough year, with my wife battling cancer, so this news has really ended it on a high.”
As part of the Special Constabulary, Ken volunteers his free time to carry out duties and help his community.
When he first decided to join in 1974, after seeing an ad on a noticeboard, he was a Special Constable helping out officers in his hometown of Waterlooville.
After a couple of years he was promoted to Sergeant and then to Inspector.
During the last eight years he has been helping recruits to the Special Constabulary, based at our training headquarters in Netley, sharing his wisdom.
He has done all this while juggling his own plumbing and building business, other volunteer work and family life with his wife Jan.
He added: “It has been a way of life for me and I have enjoyed every minute. If I could go back and do it all again, I would.
“One of the most rewarding things over the years has been seeing the new recruits get attested after their year of training.
“It is not like it used to be in my day, when you just signed up, they have to go through quite intense training but it is worth it at the end when you see the pride they have in themselves and how proud their families are.
“I would tell anyone who was thinking of joining the Special Constabulary to just do it. There is nothing else like it, it is exciting, interesting and it can be so rewarding.
“I am so proud to be part of an organisation that cares and the people I have met in the force have been so kind and supportive.”
Congratulating Ken on his honour, Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said: “I would like to add my personal congratulations to Ken and that of all his colleagues across the Constabulary.
“He has volunteered for decades, and is the epitome of public service. His award reflects so highly on all of our Special Constabulary and the important role they play.”
If Ken's story has inspired you to find out more about becoming part of our Special Constabulary, click here.