Matlock councillor receives MBE

Royal Honour: Cllr Geoff Stevens, who receives an MBE in the New Years Honours list, fifty years after his father Eric received the same hounour.
Royal Honour: Cllr Geoff Stevens, who receives an MBE in the New Years Honours list, fifty years after his father Eric received the same hounour.

A Matlock councillor who has spent over 40 years tirelessly working for his community has been made an MBE in the 2012 New Year honours list.

Geoff Stevens said he was “thrilled” by the announcement which will see him receive the prestigious medal for his long-standing commitment to the town.

The 69-year-old, of Allen Hill, has lived in Matlock all of his life and has been a member of Derbyshire Dales District Council since 1975 and was a founder member of Matlock Town Council.

He said: “I’m very fortunate in many ways as I have stayed in the town I was born and brought up in. I’ve always thought it was a marvellous place to live.”

For over 44 years he has voluntarily compered at the Matlock Baths Illuminations and Venetian Nights – a service he has no intention of giving up and which sees him dedicate ten weekends a year to carry out his duties.

Since 1996 the former town mayor has been chairman of Matlock and District Scout Association and he took on the difficult task of bringing two districts together to form the Derwent and Dove Scout District.

He works with many Scout groups encouraging them to provide joint activities, such as the annual swimming competition and through the Rotary Club and business organisations he works hard to see various groups put something back by fundraising for a variety of charities.

He said: “I had a great childhood here in Matlock and belonged to lots of organisations such as Cubs and Scouts.

“I’ve always carried that on and given back in the hope the young people coming along now will have the same, wonderful experiences that I did.”

Mr Stevens started out his career in retail at the former Bernard Evans clothing shop on Dale Road, where he progressed to manager before taking over his own shop in the town centre, with his wife Jacquie.

For over 30 years Geoff Stevens Mens and Ladies Wear shop on Causeway Lane was a fixture of the town until the couple, who have been married for over 40 years and have a son Dominic and two grandsons, retired last year.

Mrs Stevens said: “Geoff was thrilled to bits and had no idea it was coming.

“Matlock is his home town and all his life he has had an interest in getting involved.”

Among Mr Stevens’ long list of achievements the overseeing of town’s Victorian Christmas market, which has gone from strength to strength during its 15 years has been one of his highlights as well as seeing the opening of the long-awaited Matlock Arc Leisure.

He said: “The council had been planning the leisure centre for a long, long time and to see it up and running, for me and all those involved it is a big achievement.”

In receiving his MBE Mr Stevens will be following in the footsteps of his late father Eric Stevens, former town councillor and All Saints School teacher who received his award in 1962.

Mr Stevens said: “I’m very proud of Matlock and I’ve always wanted to give something back. One thing I can say is boredom is not on my list and I’ve always managed to keep myself occupied.”