Flood action group chairman Alan receives BEM

From left, the Duchess of Northumberland then Alan Bell and his wife  Catherine, daughter Amanda and son Nicholas. Picture by Richard Thompson.
From left, the Duchess of Northumberland then Alan Bell and his wife Catherine, daughter Amanda and son Nicholas. Picture by Richard Thompson.

A Morpeth man who has worked tirelessly for fellow flood victims for the last decade has been awarded the prestigious British Empire Medal.

Alan Bell, chairman of the Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG), and five other Northumberland residents received their honours at a special investiture ceremony in Alnwick Castle from the Duchess of Northumberland in her capacity as the Queen’s Lord Lieutenant for the county.

He has been chairman of MFAG since it was formed in 2008, in response to the flooding which devastated hundreds of homes and businesses in the town.

The group was widely praised for its dogged determination to ensure the flood alleviation scheme became a reality, especially during the period when it looked to be in jeopardy, and members organised fund-raising activities so they could attend conferences and meetings in order to get up-to-date information and learn from other established groups.

The scheme was fully completed in July 2017.

Members of Mr Bell’s family, some of his friends and a few MFAG members attended the ceremony.

“It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening in a relaxed atmosphere,” he said.

“There has been a lot of hard work put in by each MFAG member and we have achieved a great deal over the 10 years, so it’s nice to have this recognition for everyone’s efforts.”

The group continues to work on quite a few matters and concerns – including surface water and flood insurance issues, flood wardens in the town, Mr Bell says Morpeth Town Council took over responsibility for this, and making representations to stress how important it is that any new housing developments are not detrimental to Morpeth in terms of flood risk.

It will carry out a snap survey on flood insurance this summer. Anyone having difficulties at the moment can call Mr Bell on 07905 564252 or email enquiries@morpeth floodaction.org.uk