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Secret's out, and Dave is an MBE! REDDITCH: Community nominates ex-cop for selfless community service.

Byline: By Emma Cullwick

A RETIRED Redd itch policeman was celebrating today after being awarded an MBE for services to his community.

The Birmingham Mail reported in February that PC Dave Wilkins was hanging up his truncheon in favour of treading the boards to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor.

The 55-year-old, a police officer for more than 16 years, also hoped retirement would give him more time for the charity work he is involved in.

And now his efforts to improve his community, which saw him become a familiar face to residents young and old in Match-borough, Redditch, have been rewarded.

Matchborough councillor Juliet Brunner and scores of police officers, headteachers and fellow councillors in Redditch joined forces to nominate Dave to be recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

It was the second time they had nominated him, but the first time they succeeded in clinching him the title MBE.

"At last Redditch's unsung hero has been appreciated and validated for his service to the community," said Coun Brunner.

"I am absolutely thrilled that he has finally been given this award.

"A lot of subterfuge in the form of secret telephone calls, e-mails and meetings have gone on to ensure this nomination happened. I can only apologise to Dave who nearly caught me out a couple of times!"

"I can't think of anyone who deserves this more.

Coun Brunner added: "Dave selflessly serves his community and he is a modest man who finds it difficult to accept credit for his achievements.

"He's an example we should all hope to personify."

Dave said: "I'm very proud and rather humbled.

"I just can't believe the generosity of it - it's very touching."

Dave follows in the footsteps of two of his family members - his mother received an OBE and his maternal grandfather was made an MBE.

CAPTION(S):

PROUD... Dave Wilkins, popular community worker. Picture: Jason Skarratt
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 29, 2006
Words:316
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