Ian Lowrie, who last month stepped down as Adur and Worthing councils’ chief executive, has been awarded an OBE for services to local government in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
At the helm of Adur District Council since 1997, Ian was instrumental in its merging of some services with Worthing Borough Council, and became the interim joint council chief executive in 2005, a position made permanent two years later.
Ian, who lives in Brighton, said: “When I got the letter, I just had to sit down, It was amazing. There was a horrible feeling of ‘why me?’, when such a huge number of people have worked on what we have done. But there is also the pride of your part in it.
“You do not expect to get an award for just doing your job.”
The merger was among the first in the country to go ahead, and Ian has since been working with other councils wanting to follow the Adur/Worthing example.
Ian, 63, is now looking forward to his trip to Buckingham Palace in the coming months.
He said: “My wife, Angi, is very excited, and has mentioned something about a new outfit!
“I have been to a garden party at the palace before, but to go and be presented with a medal by the Queen will be something else entirely.”
The news was celebrated with a family gathering, complete with champagne, on Sunday.
“We opened a few bottles of champagne.
“I have been getting lots of e-mails and phone calls, It’s really nice,” he said, adding his 89-year-old mum, Jessie, was over the moon with her son’s success.