Eastbourne man awarded MBE

An Eastbourne man has been awarded an MBE from the Queen.

Howard Wardle was given the honour for his services to the community in Eastbourne as chief executive and fonder of the town’s foodbank.

Mr Wardle said, “I must admit I am quite shocked and surprised.

“They rang about two weeks ago to ask if I would be interested in accepting it and I said, ‘What? Who? Me? You have got it wrong!’ And they said, ‘No, you.’

Howard Wardle. SUS-140303-180357001

Eastbourne Foodbank, which was set up in 2011, helped feed 16,500 people last year.

Mr Wardle said, “I am absolutely immensely proud. I really am because it is the recognition of an awful lot of hard work by an awful lot of people.

“It is something I started in 2011 and I know it has made a huge difference to the town. It is an fantastic honour.

“I never ever expected it. It is something you expect footballers and famous people to get, not somebody like me.”

Mr Wardle also praised the work of his colleagues who helped grow the foodbank over the last 10 years.

He said, “I think they will be delighted. We have got such a brilliant team and I think they will just be chuffed to bits.

“At the end of the day, although it is me who gets it, it has been a team effort over a long time and I think it is a pity that it isn’t just awarded to everybody.”

The foodbank also plans to open nine new centres across the town.

Mr Wardle said, “Our aim is to try and do something about the poverty situation in Eastbourne. That is our mission.

“We try to make a difference. There are four areas of Eastbourne with high levels of poverty and we are trying to do a lot of work in those four areas.

“That is the mission really. To try and make a difference to people who are in poverty and to try and lift them out of that situation.”

The charity accepts food donations from the public before sorting it and allowing people to come and collect what they need.

Volunteers meet clients with a warm drink or free hot meal and are able to help people find agencies that may be able to solve their long-term problems.

On top of this the charity also provides household items and equipment for newborn babies.

Eastbourne Foodbank can be found in Unit 3, 55 Brampton Road, BN22 9AF.