Congratulations to Cllr Robert Collins, honoured with a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours – January 2024

Nailsea Town Council are very proud that Cllr Robert Collins has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours list in January 2024. The British Empire Medal is a British and Commonwealth award for meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown. The current honour was created in 1922 to replace the original medal, which had been established in 1917 as part of the Order of the British Empire.

Cllr Robert Collins was awarded the medal for his services to Young People and to Sport as the Founder of Pass It On Young Sports, a voluntary youth organisation. Pass It On Young Sports is a non-profit organisation formed by Robert, to encourage young people into the countryside and into field sports and conservation. This is via exposure to various Countryside Pursuits such as Marksman and Target shooting with multi shooting sports, air rifles, archery, catapults, even clay target shotgun shooting and precision rifle shooting at speciality events.

Having first taken up shooting aged just 3 years old on his uncle’s farm, Rob was hooked. He spent his following childhood years hunting, rabbiting with ferrets and learning about game keeping. Today, Rob is a celebrated countryman, conservationist, journalist and renowned game chef. Robert has a many interests and talents. Recently launching his seventh book, Rob has written about everything from game recipes to tales of hunting in the field. All the profit from his books is put into Pass It On Young Sports. He’s also keen to pass on his experience and enthusiasm to the younger generation and one of the avenues for this is via Pass it on young sports.

Robert says ‘I am very honoured and humbled to be nominated and awarded this British Empire Medal. To receive such an accolade is amazing but it’s always very much a team effort with my team at Pass It On Young Sports and all the members of the organisation.

Growing up in a farming and field sports family on one side and a city family on the other, I got to see both sides of the fence but it was the allure of mother nature that pulled me away from my city playground. A passion began in me for all field sports, right from my first outing ferreting at 3 years old. I am proud to be able to support young people to develop and love of the countryside. My ultimate passions are conservation, the North Somerset region, Nailsea in particular, and giving young people an outlet to gain an understanding of nature and conservation. Born and bred in the region, I love the area and promote it all I can in my work’.

Robert is also Chair of the Somerset Branch of the Masonic Fishing Charity whose aim is to bring an interactive fishing and countryside experience to people with special needs. This is achieved by running fishing events, both coarse and fly, at various fisheries and inviting participants from special needs schools and centres and people who have suffered trauma to come and join in. This is far more than just a day’s fishing though! It enables mentally disabled people to gain in confidence, meet new challenges and achieve tangible results to take away; it helps disadvantaged people and those from harsh backgrounds to renew their confidence in meeting people and interacting with adults from outside their spheres; it helps physically disabled people (including war heroes and stroke victims) to participate and experience something that may otherwise be unavailable to them and it enables our volunteers to give back to the community and have some fun along the way. The charity is completely run by volunteers and is a non-profit making enterprise.

Not forgetting other local people were also presented with various New Year Honours.

Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP; Member of Parliament for North Somerset, formerly Secretary of State for International Trade and Secretary of State for Defence. Knighthood for public and political service.

Nigel Christopher ASHTON Councillor, North Somerset Council. OBE for Political and Public Service, (Portishead, Somerset)

Samantha Kate MAYHEW Assistant Principal, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, Weston College. OBE for services to Further Education, (Nailsea, Somerset)

Keith Norman WALTON Founder, Severnside Community Rail Partnership. MBE for services to Urban Rail Transport in Bristol, (Nailsea, Somerset)