THE founder of a life-saving local charity has spoken about being mentioned in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

David Williamson of Meon Valley Heartstart, who has lived in Bishop's Waltham since 1967, was awarded the British Empire Medal this year.

His charity hosts free sessions to teach community groups how to save lives with CPR and other techniques.

Mr Williamson’s award is also recognition of the role he played in starting a Community First Responder’s Scheme in the village.

“This is an enormous honour and I am very overwhelmed to be a recipient of an award on the Queen’s Birthday List," he said.

"It came completely out of the blue, so much so that when I first received the notification, I initially thought it was a scam.

"But seriously the award, while given to me, is in recognition of the tremendous work that is done by teams of people.

"I couldn’t have made a difference here in Bishop’s Waltham without the fantastic teams of people ready to join in and work with me, so this is as much recognition for them as it is for me."

It was on his retirement from a distinguished 33 year career with the Ambulance Service in 2000 that David turned his efforts to community health initiatives.

In 2000, he developed Meon Valley Heartstart which is affiliated to the British Heart Foundation.

Since then it has trained more than 25,000 people.

Chairman Gary Ford said: "This recognition of David’s contribution to his local community is fantastic. We are delighted for him.

"His hard work, determination and dedication to the Heartstart Scheme is without doubt what has made the scheme the success it is today.

"His passion, compassion, enthusiasm, drive and willingness to help anyone make David a stand out individual in the communities he serves”.