YOUNG AT HEART Henry Austin receives his British Empire Medal from the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle

STALWART of The Boys’ Brigade Henry Austin has been awarded a British Empire Medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle, at Penshurst Place.

Mr Austin, 70, has given 47 years as a volunteer for the organisation and has held more than a dozen positions in the Tonbridge and North West Kent Battalions.

He joined the 2nd Tonbridge Brigade in 1970, and by the time he became a Vice-President, he has supported 15 Boys’ Brigades, managing property and mentoring new captains.

He was instrumental in the inclusion of girls – which saw ten of them achieve The Queen’s Badge, the highest honour available.

Mr Austin, who also runs canoeing sessions at the Water Activity Centre in Barden Road, said: “I’m humbled and so grateful to be recognised for something I’ve dedicated my whole life to. It really has been my vocation.

“When I hear 40-year-old men, who I worked with as boys, thank me for helping them find their moral compass, it makes you tremble up your back to think of the impact you’ve had.”