A Burnley local has been awarded an MBE for his stellar work in bringing people in Burnley and Lancashire of different faiths together through the Building Bridges in Burnley Project.
Colin Wills, 74, of Minehead Avenue, was awarded the title in the Queen’s birthday honours having created the Building Bridges Project, a partnership of faith organisations in 2001 to promote dialogue and understanding between faith groups.
I hope it brings pleasure to the town - I’ve lived here all my life, born and bred and educated and workedColin
Asked what his reaction was upon learning the news, Colin said: “My first reaction was shock and disbelief. I thought it was good publicity for my faith, although the Queen is a giant of a person when it comes to faith and when it comes to living that faith through words and deeds. She takes some living up to.
“I hope it brings pleasure to the town - I’ve lived here all my life, born and bred and educated and worked - and to the church I go to, which I’ve been involved in since Building Bridges was set up to bring communities together, and we’ve done that successfully over 15 years.”
Mr Wills was congratulated by Reverend Liz Jewitt at a service last weekend at the United Reformed church, which was celebrating the life and faith of Queen Elizabeth II.
“We’re trying to make Burnley a town that people are interested in not only because we’re in the Premier League,” said Colin, whose family were reportedly ‘thrilled to bits’.
“I’m very grateful for their support as I have been all my life,” he said. “They said ‘there’s nobody better deserving of what you’ve got.’”