A CALLINGTON resident who has committed his life to music for over 40 years is honoured to have been recognised in the New Year Honours list 2023.

Eighty-two year old, Brian Gerry was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the community in Plymouth.

The New Year Honours List recognises the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK.

The British Empire Medal has been awarded to Brian for ‘hands-on’ service to the Plymouth community, that has made a significant difference.

Brian who has been the musical director for the Plymouth Area Police Choir since 1986 and been involved with music across the city, said he was “overwhelmed and honoured” by the award and wished to dedicated it to all those who he has worked with over the years.

He said: “I feel very honoured. I want to thank the thousands of people who I have worked with over the years. They deserve the award as much as I do.”

Brian explained that he was taken by surprise when he was nominated for the award by the police choir, a group from which he had previously received a commendation from. The police choir contacted the other groups Brian was involved with to assist with th nomination and had also been secretly assisted by his partner, adding to his astonishment.

Aside from his decades of dedication to the police choir, Brian has been a musical director with the City of Plymouth Theatre Company for over 40 years. One of his crowning achievements including Music of the Night concerts at the Citadel.

Brian’s life has also been deeply intertwined with the church and he has been a Methodist local preacher for exactly 60 years from 1964 - 2024 and has been lay chaplain to the Lord Mayor of Plymouth on two occasions.

Upon the announcement, Brian was inundated with well wishes from friends and family.

“I’ve lost count of the hundreds of calls I’ve received and cards sent, it’s quite overwhelming,” he said.

He hopes that this award will honour those who he has worked with over the years including the countless young people who he has taught singing, many of whom perform professionally.

Brian added: “A great part of my life has been conducting musicals and teaching.

“I started playing the piano when I was five.

“I’ve had a lovely life and I’m still going and I don’t intend on stopping.”

Brian added that he was looking forward to attending the garden party which will be held at Buckingham Palace.