A wildlife rescuer was given an MBE by Prince Charles in recognition of the decades of service he has given to animals.
Trevor Weeks, who launched East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) back in 1985, was invited to Buckingham Palace after being included on the Queen’s honours list earlier this year.
And, once there, he was met by Prince Charles before being whisked off by Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd for an afternoon in Parliament.
Mr Weeks travelled to London on Wednesday where his father John Weeks and step- mum Wendy paid for him and his proud partner Kathy Martyn to stay overnight before going to the Palace the following day.
And, according to the popular local animal lover, it was a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
He said, “It was an amazing experience, and I felt very out of place being there, but the staff were very light-hearted and calm, they had everything in order and well planned and everything was very smooth.
“I was one of the last batch of people to be shown through to receive my award. We were told how to approach, wait for your surname to be read out, then walk forward, turn, bow, then approach Prince Charles.
“He asked me where I came from, how long have I been doing it for, and said he was pleased that my work had been noticed and that I was receiving the award. It seemed to pass very quickly.”
And, while the day itself flew by, the memory and pride will, says Mr Weeks, live a lot longer. “I am glad I have proven so many people wrong about where I was going with my life and voluntary work,” he said.
“I might be poor but I am so much happier as a result. I’m glad I am achieving something with my life. I am disappointed that my mum is not alive to witness it and hope that she would have been proud of me.
“It was very nice to meet up with Stephen Lloyd afterwards and very grateful for him to take time out of his busy schedule to meet me and my family.
“The WRAS does more work in his constituency than any other and he has always been very supportive of our work even before he was an MP.”
Mr Weeks has always been quick to speak up for his fellow volunteers who together respond to injured animals across the county. In recent weeks they have saved a stricken seal, treated injured birds and helped nurse countless animals back to health before releasing them into the wild.
And speaking after getting his award, Mr Weeks took time to thank those supporters. He said, “I must reiterate that the work we do would not be possible if it was not for the supporters of our charity, they are the backbone of the charity and it would not be possible for us to rescue the volume of animals we care for without them.”