A man who grew up in Gaywood’s Bagge Road and went on to a long police career has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours list.
Tony Derrick, 57, was awarded an MBE for services to the development of policing in Afghanistan.
Mr Derrick, of Tilney-cum-Islington, said: “It’s a fantastic honour but there are a lot of other people who deserve it more than I – those who have laid down their lives.
“I will go along to the palace and accept it on their behalf.”
Mr Derrick grew up in Bagge Road and attended Howard Infant and Junior Schools before moving on to Gaywood Park School and Lynn college.
He initially trained as a teacher but joined the police force in Surrey aged 22.
He served as a police officer for 31 years, rising to the rank of superintendent.
During his time with the force, Mr Derrick completed a tour of Iraq and Baghdad. On leaving the force, he spent 18 months in Basra as a senior police advisor.
That was followed by three months in Abu Dhabi and then three years and one month in the notorious Helmand Province, in Afghanistan, where he helped develop a police force.
Mr Derrick left Afghanistan in September and is now using his expertise in Libya.
Mr Derrick is married with two grown up daughters and is currently relocating to Surrey.
He said he was motivated to work abroad in a bid to use the skills he had been allowed to develop in his career.
He said: “This is about working for 30 years in a country that is so well advanced – the UK – developing all my policing skills.
“A lot of time and money was invested in me and I felt if we are going to put UK policing on the map, we need to go to places that most probably lots of other people don’t want to go to.
“Every day in somewhere like Helmand is memorable for one reason or another, although Helmand, for me, was a lot quieter than Basra. There we were rocketed every single day.”
Mr Derrick said he hoped his success would encourage other people to realise their own ambitions.
He said: “Really there are two messages: There is always someone who is worse off and if you want to do something, get up and get on with it.”
Mr Derrick’s mother Pamela Swenson, 76, of Temple Road, Reffley Estate, Gaywood, is hugely proud.
She said: “He told me, ‘Mum, I’m going to Buckingham Palace. I said ‘Oh, so am I, I’ll see you there,’ thinking he was joking. I still can’t believe it.”
Actresses Angela Lansbury and Penelope Keith were among others included in this year’s list.
They each became dames in a list, which featured more women than men for the first time ever.
Some 1,195 people received an award and in total and 74 per cent went to people engaged in charitable or voluntary work within their local community.
n Martin Woods, the head gardener at the Sandringham Estate has been made an MVO (Member of the Royal Victorian Order).