Every year, the New Year’s Honours List has a mixture of the great and good who have made a contribution to British Society. One of this year’s recipients, Bandmaster of Sleaford Salvation Army, Neville McFarlane, has revealed his surprise at being awarded the British Empire Medal for services to The Salvation Army and the community in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.
“We moved to Sleaford in 1963,” recalls Neville. “I was a school headmaster and spent the vast majority of my adult life teaching in Staffordshire and Lincolnshire. It was a great privilege – I loved the time I spent serving the community both professionally and personally.”
“I’ve been a member of The Salvation Army all my life,” he confesses. “I was born into a Salvationist family, and have been a member since I was a young adult. After serving at several Corps, including Brighton Congress Hall, Oxford and Chesterton, eventually I would end up as the bandmaster of Sleaford Corps band and also spent ten years as the Divisional Bandmaster for Lincolnshire in The Salvation Army’s East Midlands Division.”
Neville will be having a typically modest celebration of his great achievement – his daughter, Jane, made him a cake and he’s currently enjoying time relaxing with family. “It seems to have brought other people some pleasure, so I suppose that is a good thing,” he acknowledges.
He continues, “But any true value in this I receive from my faith and The Salvation Army. It’s a form of worship which makes me more comfortable; it’s what makes sense to me and has informed my life working in and amongst people. I’m deeply grateful for this recognition and trust the work of The Salvation Armywill continue long into the future.”