A CHARITY champion from Chorley has been left stunned after a receiving a royal honour for his work in the community.
Dennis Benson has been awarded an OBE for services to Education and Commerce in the Queens recent 90th birthday honours list for his voluntary work for a number of organisations over the years.
The 84-year-old, who is currently the chairman of the Debt Advice Foundation and the Rosemere Cancer Unit, said he could hardly believe he had got the award.
Dennis said: “I was really surprised because there’s lots of others out there putting the hard work in - it’s not just me.”
The well-known figure, who has two children and four grandchildren with his wife Betty, began volunteering in the community when he retired as the managing director of Multipart, formerly Leyland Motors, 27 years ago.
He then began writing for the Chorley edition of the Lancashire Evening Post, where he made contacts and began volunteering for organisations, before becoming the chairman of Chorley and South Ribble NHS Trust.
Dennis said: “Writing for the LEP I got to meet people who have volunteered for all sorts of places and I thought this is what I should do.
“I think it’s very important work and also very rewarding.
“But the thought never occurred to me that I might get an OBE for it.”
Dennis also helped to form the first primary care trust at the hospital and set up a £29m investment program before it merged with Preston Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
Since he stepped down from the hospitals in 2007, Dennis decided to focus more on charity-based voluntary work.
So he became the chairman of the Debt Advice Foundation and helped set up the financial education programme which is now taught in 120 schools across the country.
He is also the Rosemere Cancer Foundation chairman.
“You come to realise you have a choice when you get older,” he said. “You can sit around or you can actually do something and I chose charity.
“I don’t know who nominated me for the OBE, but the organisations are all wonderful.
“And I will go on working for them until the grim reaper arrives.”