BEM honour to recognise popular man

Maurice Humphris is pictured with his wife Rita. He was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to the community in Banbury. NNL-150617-133959001
Maurice Humphris is pictured with his wife Rita. He was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to the community in Banbury. NNL-150617-133959001

A retired funeral director whose family business has beenin the town since the 19th Century has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours’ List.

Maurice Humphris worked at his father’s business for 44 years until his retirement , but apart from his career in the profession he was also deputy lieutenant of Oxfordshire for about eight years and a magistrate for 38 years.

The 80-year-old was given the honour for his services to the community in Banbury, and will collect his award at Oxford’s Pembroke College in October with his wife Rita and their sons Martin and David.

Mr Humphris, who lives on Broughton Road, said: “I knew about the award about six weeks ago so it was difficult not saying anything to my family. It was a great surprise and when I told them all they opened a bottle of champagne.

“I went into the family’s funeral director because it was the natural progression as my brother, father and grandfather were all involved as well.”

The business is now operating in Albert Street after it was founded in 1880 by Joseph Humphris who started the firm in Broughton Road.

In 1913 Joseph’s eighth son Harold took over the running of the business and was joined by his other son John as well as Maurice in 1950.

The firm is now run by Mr Humphris’ son Martin and his nephew Christopher and it continues to go from strength to strength.

Following Mr Humphris’ retirement he ran a youth club for eight years and was a CAB advisor. He is now a volunteer driver for the charity based on Cornhill and is also a member of the Rotary Club of Banbury.

He added: “I just love the town and think it is absolutely fantastic. I love everything about Banbury and it is a wonderful place to live.”

Other notable people include Dr Elizabeth Goodwin of Upper Heyford who was awarded an OBE for services to business resources efficiency and the environment.

Heather Ann Shute of Chipping Norton and Susan Myatt of Chadlington are both a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire for voluntary services to disabled people and the community in Oxfordshire and services to the community of Chadlington respectively. Alan Bartlett of Shipston-on-Stour is an MBE for his work as a swimming volunteer.