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Community stalwart to get medal honour from Queen
HE WAS born in Tanzania, his first language is Dutch and he was living in Kuwait when it was invaded by Iraq in 1990.
But his love of his adopted home town Faringdon has earned him the British Empire Medal.
Titus Anno Sjoerd Vogt, 56, has dedicated the past 10 years to improving the town.
He was instrumental in Faringdon becoming the first Fairtrade town in the South East, he created Faringdon Eco Week and he is chairman of the community shop, the tennis club and the Pink Pigeons public art society.
He is also the town crier, although by accident rather than design, and is one of four residents spearheading Faringdon Free Food – a plan to fill the town’s vacant green spaces with edible food plants.
The BEM, which recognises a sustained local contribution to community, was reintroduced last year as a Jubilee celebration after it was discontinued in 1992.
Mr Vogt, 56, will be presented with his award by the Queen’s representative in Oxfordshire, the Lord Lieutenant, on a date to be confirmed.
But he says all the real thanks are due to the people who make his ideas reality.
“It was a complete surprise,” he said, “and like most people who feel honoured and humbled you feel it is not justified.
“There are decent people who would be more worthy.
“But, on the other hand most of the people who I think would be worthy recipients are the people who nominated me.
“If any one of us gets recognised, the whole project does as well.”
A chemist by profession, Mr Vogt and his wife Karen first moved to Faringdon in 1982.
After living in Kuwait, they returned for good in 1990.
When the town elected its first town crier eight years ago, Mr Vogt, unbeknown to him, was named deputy.
When the winning candidate stepped down, he had the bell and uniform thrust upon him.
“I thought it was a bit of a joke,” said Mr Vogt, “It is the same reason that Morris dancer do it – they have to try very hard to keep a straight face.”
Mr Vogt was nominated for the BEM by the then Mayor of Faringdon, Margaret Barker, last year.
PAST WINNERS FROM OXFORDSHIRE
MR VOGT is the 10th Oxfordshire recipient of the BEM since its reintroduction last June.
The others are:
- Elizabeth Robinson, for services to the community in Abingdon.
- Roger Shorter, for services to the community in Churchill, Chipping Norton.
- Evelyn Slater, from Bicester, prison Officer at HMP Bullingdon, for services to HM Prison Service.
- Patricia Wagstaff, from Abingdon, for her volunteer work at Sobell House Hospice, Oxford.
- Gillian Barnard for services to the community in Salford.
- Penelope Hannigan for her work as a teaching assistant at Crowmarsh Gifford CofE Primary School.
- George Hedges, secretary and chairman of Respite Nursing for Oxfordshire's Sick Youngsters, for services to sick children in Oxfordshire.
- Raymond Hewett for services to Roke and Benson Brass Band.
- Dr Peter Pritchard, for services to the Dorchester-on-Thames community.
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