It was a proud moment for Blackpool as two of the town’s leading names collected honours from Prince Charles.
Gay entrepreneur Basil Newby and fencing luminary Brian Dickinson were both at Buckingham Palace yesterday to receive their awards which were announced in the New Year’s Honours list.
Mr Newby, whose clubs include Flamingos and Funny Girls, was presented with the MBE in recognition of services to business and for his contribution to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Blackpool.
He said: “Prince Charles was really nice and he asked me about Blackpool, and he said he loved it.
“I invited him to visit Funny Girls next time he was up there but he said he would take a rain check on that!
“But he was very jovial and really put me at ease. I feel he has given Blackpool the royal seal of approval.”
Mr Newby, who lives in Singleton, was accompanied by his partner Ian and his sisters at the ceremony.
He built up his empire after opening the Flamingo at the end of the 1970s.
Brian Dickinson, of Preston New Road, Marton, who is president of the Disabled Fencing Association, made the trip to Buckingham Palace with his grandchildren and wife Valerie.
He has been recognised for services to wheelchair fencing.
After collecting his award from Prince Charles, Mr Dickinson said: “It has been quite an honour.
“I must say that it is on behalf of all the people involved in wheelchair fencing, both on the national and international stage.I was very surprised.”
Mr Dickinson has been a driving force in disability fencing for more than 50 years, initially as a multi-medallist at the Paralympic, World, European and Commonwealth championships.
His influence in the sport covers a wide range of areas including competition rules and the design and development of specialist equipment for use in international competition.
He also served on the International Wheelchair Fencing Committee from 1984 until 2005.