270 help Bury’s Ernie Broom celebrate being awarded a BEM

Ernie Broom, wearing his BEM, with his children Karen Arbon, Michael Broom and  Anne Burwell ANL-151027-164516001
Ernie Broom, wearing his BEM, with his children Karen Arbon, Michael Broom and Anne Burwell ANL-151027-164516001
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Community leader Ernie Broom admits it would be difficult to decide which of his two medal events in seven days was the most memorable.

On October 16 he attended an investiture at Euston to receive his British Empire Medal from Suffolk’s Lord Lietenant and a week later his honour was celebrated at a party, organised by his children at Ashlar House in Eastern Way, Bury St Edmunds, attended by 270 people.

Ernie, 79, chairman of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants, said the funeral directors Fulchers, who have premises on the estate, had provided a chauffeur driven limousine to take him and his family to Euston.

“That was a lovely start, and then there was this wonderful party,” he said. “It surpassed anything I could have thought – it was like walking into a film set. There were friends there I worked with in the ‘50s, relations I hadn’t seen for several years, our bridesmaid came.

“I still haven’t come down from it really.”

Ernie moved to Bury from London in 1965 and was a telephone engineer for 31 years and an ambulance driver for 11 years.

Among his many achievements, the great-grandfather started a club for youngsters in 1969. Numbers grew so rapidly, they decided to affiliate with national The Woodcraft Folk which led to five groups being established in the town.

He served on the Suffolk Youth Advisory Council, was a governor at Howard Primary and Howard Middle Schools and started the Over 60s Club following the death of his wife Deirdre in November, 2001.

Ernie was awarded the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday honours and admitted he thought the letter saying he had it was a hoax.

Others who received the BEM at the investiture included Jean Evans, of Barrow, for services to the West Suffolk Group of Riding for the Disabled and to her village community; Jane Gurney, from Stowmarket, for work with the Target Club in Stowmarket and Elizabeth Barrett, from Kentford, for her service to the public rights of way network in East Anglia.