TWO Keighley community stalwarts have spoken of their "surprise but pride" at being recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Ronnie Pickles – from the Fell Lane area of the town – and Margaret Smith, who lives at Riddlesden, have both been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).

"When I received the letter it was certainly a bit of a shock but I'm very pleased," said Mr Pickles, 82, whose citation is for services to young people and the community.

He has been involved in the Scout movement for over four decades.

"You do it for the kids – not for recognition – but to receive something like this is a great honour," said Mr Pickles.

His links with Scouting stretch back to when his son, Andrew, started as a Scout at the 1st Keighley (Fell Lane) troop.

"They needed an assistant leader and I agreed to help out," he said.

Over the years he has been a mainstay supporter of the group and continues to provide help whenever required.

He has also served as a canoe instructor and is a district vice-president.

"Scouting is something we're involved in as a family and you get a lot of pleasure from it," said retired builder/plasterer Mr Pickles, who is married to Eileen – also a long-serving member of the group. They have son Andrew, a daughter Catherine and four grandchildren.

Tribute is paid by Scouts district commissioner, Jeanette Young.

"I've known Ronnie for over 40 years – as a Scouting colleague and a friend – and he has done some fantastic work and always displayed the highest values," she said.

"He does an enormous amount at 1st Keighley but also in the wider community. He is very deserving of this recognition."

Mrs Smith was awarded the BEM for her services to the community.

She has been involved in Girlguiding for well over 50 years and a member of St Mary's Church, at Riddlesden, for more than four decades.

News of the honour arrived via email last month.

"It was totally out of the blue," said Mrs Smith. "Receiving something like that just never crosses your mind – you don't do these things for recognition."

She started in Girlguiding as a seven-year-old Brownie in Leeds and then became a Guider.

Mrs Smith has held various roles within the movement over the years. She now serves as West Yorkshire North county president and a county mentor.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my years in Girlguiding," she said.

"You put a lot into it, but you also get a huge amount from it. I've met some lovely people and it has presented me with some wonderful opportunities. I've been very lucky."

Mrs Smith is also involved in the Trefoil Guild.

And daughter Kathryn is continuing the Girlguiding tradition – she runs a Guide company in Shrewsbury, where Mrs Smith's ten-year-old granddaughter Jessica has also just become a member.