On the 12th March 1996, Gerry Newton received the MBE for his work in keeping the streets of Rishton clean.
STREET sweeper Gerry Newton, pictured right, swapped the streets of Rishton for Buckingham Palace when he picked up his MBE from the Queen.
The 56-year-old from Derby Street, Accrington, got a special thank you from the Queen herself for keeping Rishtons streets spotless for the last 15 years.
Gerry said: "What made the day extra special for me was the fact that I was surrounded by all these military people and the Queen still found the time to congratulate me personally. The Queen spoke to me and told me I fully deserved the medal for all the work I do."
Gerry and his wife Kathleen, 52, travelled down to the capital in style and spent the night before the ceremony in a four star hotel.
In November 1998, the people of Rishton were asking: 'What happened to Gerry?' A familiar figure in Rishton for 18 years, Gerry Newton MBE, our genial and popular street-sweeper, was greatly missed by his many friends and acquaintances in the town.
Gerry, 58 at the time, was on extended sick-leave with a succession of complaints and was awaiting a hernia operation.
Nobody knew when, or even if, he would be able to return to his job of keeping the township's streets clean and tidy; he couldn't even work on his beloved allotment, but he was greatly heartened to hear about the concern which so many people were feeling for him.
Lancashire Evening Telegraph.