The highest civil honour for Keith

A Fylde councillor has spoken of his pride at being given the Imperial Service Medal, the highest honour possible for any civil servant.

By Gareth Vickers
Friday, 14th February 2014, 9:00 am
Coun Keith Beckett with the award he received from the Governor of Kirkham Prison.
Coun Keith Beckett with the award he received from the Governor of Kirkham Prison.

Coun Keith Beckett, 65, was given the award following his work at HMP Kirkham, where he taught joinery for more than 30 years.

Coun Beckett said: “I was very honoured to receive the award in a letter from the Queen.

“I started working at the prison in my late 20s where I conducted a skills workshop with around 20 inmates a day.

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“I never had any trouble with inmates in Kirkham Prison – I just made sure to treat them as human beings. If you treated them with respect, they did the same with you.”

The councillor, who represents Kirkham North ward, retired in 2007 and was invited back to the prison, where he was given the medal by governor Graham Beck.

Coun Beckett added: “It was a full staff meeting. Having been away five years, it was good to see some former colleagues.

“I was the only person receiving an award at the meeting and it was nice to be recognised that way.”

Coun Beckett, who lives with wife Janet in Mellor Road, Kirkham, has been a huge supporter of various groups and clubs in the town, having twice served as Mayor of Kirkham Town Council.

He has represented the town’s cricket and bowls teams, as well as being part of the Kirkham Carnival Committee and the Willows Social Club.

He added: “I retired from public duties in 1986, but coming up to retirement decided to pick it up where it had all begun and was re-elected in 2007 and 2011 as a Fylde councillor.”

Governor Beck praised Coun Beckett’s contribution to the prison service. He said: “It’s absolutely deserved.

“The medal recognises long service and the high level of contribution to public service. I am very proud of the work he has done.

“It was a privilege to have him here.”

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