Former Banbury funeral director collects BEM

Tim Stephenson OBE, lord lieutenant of Oxfordshire, with Maurice Humphris who collected his BEM at a ceremony on Pembroke College on Tuesday. Picture by Stewart Turkington. www.stphotos.co.uk NNL-150511-162509001
Tim Stephenson OBE, lord lieutenant of Oxfordshire, with Maurice Humphris who collected his BEM at a ceremony on Pembroke College on Tuesday. Picture by Stewart Turkington. www.stphotos.co.uk NNL-150511-162509001

A retired funeral director in Banbury whose family business has been based in the town for more than 100 years collected his British Empire Medal (BEM) in a ceremony at Oxford’s Pembroke College on Tuesday.

Maurice Humphris worked at his father’s business, now based in Albert Street, for 44 years but was also deputy lord lieutenant of Oxfordshire for eight years and a magistrate for 38 years.

Accompanied by his wife Rita and sons Martin and David, Mr Humphris was presented with the award by current lord lieutenant of Oxfordshire Tim Stephenson OBE for services to the community of Banbury.

Mr Humphris, 80, of Broughton Road in Banbury, said: “It was everything I expected and more. I was delighted to be presented with the award by the lord lieutenant of Oxfordshire so in a way it felt like I was at home.

“It hasn’t really sunk in and one of the things that pleased me was although I was serving as a deputy lord lieutenant, the former lord lieutenant who appointed me, Hugo Brenner, attended as well and it was great to see him.

“It was appropriate for Rita to be there as without her support and encouragement I wouldn’t have been able to any of the things I did.”

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

His son Martin added: “It was a great day overall and it is difficult to put into words. They gave a summary of what he done over the years and it was fantastic because he got involved with everything in the town.”