Former bus company boss leads West Norfolk names in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Ben Colson is suprised at his retirement lunch from Norfolk Green with a bus named after him.
Ben Colson is suprised at his retirement lunch from Norfolk Green with a bus named after him.
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The former head of a West Norfolk bus company has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Ben Colson, the ex-managing director of Norfolk Green, was honoured for services to the economy and community in Norfolk in the list, which was published on Friday night.

Mr Colson admitted the award came as a “great surprise”, but said he was delighted to have been considered worthy of such recognition.

He said: “I’m very, very humbled and proud of that fact.”

Under his management, Norfolk Green became the leading operator in the area, going from having three staff to around 160 when it was sold to Stagecoach in 2013.

Mr Colson said the decision of his fellow shareholders not to take dividends and plough all profits back into services, had helped the company, which was also named UK Bus Operator of the Year in 2010, to better serve the community over the years.

And he said of the award: “I feel proud for them. It feels like it’s for all they have done too.”

As well as his work with Norfolk Green, Mr Colson is also well known for his role as chairman of the organising committee for the Wolferton scarecrow festival, which was last staged two years ago, and has raised thousands of pounds for good causes.

He continues to work in the transport sector today, representing small independent bus companies in discussions with government officials.

Mr Colson is one of several people with connections to West Norfolk who have been recognised in the honours list.

Paul Arnill, a former vice-chairman of the Tilney All Saints parish council, has been awarded an MBE for services to the village and the Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue unit, which he helped to establish in 2006.

Cpl Richard Seed, a former pupil of the St Clement’s High School in Terrington St Clement and whose parents live in Hunstanton, has received an AOC commendation in the honours awarded to RAF and other military personnel.

And Norfolk’s chief fire officer Nigel Williams has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service medal, after almost three decades in the service. He is expected to retire this autumn.