A former Rutland teacher has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his outstanding service to the community.
Ned Heywood, who taught design and ceramics at the former Rutland Sixth Form College from 1972 to 1982, was made an MBE in the New Year honours list.
He will be presented with his award at Buckingham Palace next month.
Ned now lives in Chepstow, just over the Welsh border, but is a frequent visitor to Oakham where his 92-year-old mother lives.
A former mayor and now deputy mayor of Chepstow, he works as a potter and makes the blue plaques that adorn buildings of historical importance throughout the country.
One of his plaques is in Barn Hill, Stamford, marking the house where the Rev William Stukely lived.
Ned, 66, has been heavily involved in numerous arts projects - he co-founded the Chepstow Festival in 1988 and helped create the Chepstow Heritage Trail.
The award was given for his services to Chepstow and the Wye Valley in general.
He said this week that he was surprised but delighted to get the award.
“I received the letter from the Cabinet Office six weeks beforehand with no idea I had been put forward for it,” he said.
“It was a big shock. Chepstow Town Council held a party for me last week, with a male voice choir, morris dancers and lots of cider.”
Ned met his partner, Ann, when she worked for Rutland County Museum.
She is now curator of Chepstow Museum and co-founded the town’s festival – one of the biggest outdoor theatrical events in the UK – which is held at Chepstow Castle each summer.
Ned said: “Getting the award was a much bigger deal than I thought.
“Hundreds of people have come up to me and congratulated me.
“It’s good in these times of cuts that people still recognise how important the arts are.”