The Queens Birthday Honours List 2013
Brian Kell. Founder and organiser, the Straw Bear festival.
For services to music and the community in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire. (Peterborough, Cambridgeshire)
BRIAN KELL BEM
The British Empire Medal, which is awarded for meritorious service worthy of recognition by the crown, was established in 1922. It lay in abeyance from 1992 until it was reinstated in 2012 to coincide with the Queens Diamond Jubilee. In the Queens Birthday Honours list for 2013 it was awarded to some 300 people nationwide, of which Brian Kell was one.
As founder and principal organiser of the Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival, he was recognised for his service to music and the community of Whittlesey. For over 30 years his enthusiasm in promoting the Straw Bear tradition has resulted in it growing from a small beginning as a folk event, to a Festival of national and international recognition. His plentiful supply of energy in introducing live theatre into schools and now teaching youngsters music, traditional folk song and Longsword dancing, has had a lasting effect on the Festival, resulting in schools now participating. The financial benefit he has brought to the Town is immeasurable. His Straw Bear legacy is plain for all to see, adorning school uniforms, sculptures, post cards and local tourist information offices. The fact is that Brian single handedly put back Whittlesey's own tradition and in doing so, established a Festival that the town can truly identify with, cannot be denied.
This award is so well deserved, many congratulations Brian.
Brian attended a special British Empire Medal Investiture, held in Peterborough Town Hall on Friday 20th September 2013.