Honours for Devon train driver and Dartmoor chairman

image captionMr Hoskin said his MBE was "a complete and utter suprise"

A councillor who started his career as a train driver has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Richard Westlake, from Exeter, has been appointed an MBE for services to public transport and to his local community.

Former chair of Dartmoor National Park, Nigel Hoskin, from Yelverton, becomes an OBE. A total of 13 people from the county were honoured by the Queen.

Mr Westlake and Mr Hoskin both believed the letter informing them of the honour had come from the Inland Revenue.

Mr Westlake said: "I have to say I was quite shocked because the letter looked like a tax return.

"What you expect and what you get are two different things, so I'm surprised by very pleased."

Mr Hoskin added: "The letter came completely out the blue.

"I thought it was a tax demand - it was a complete and utter surprise, but lovely."

Torquay-born Mr Hoskin's love of Dartmoor began when he walked on the moor at Haytor as a boy with his father.

After careers in the Royal Navy and local government, Mr Hoskin became heavily involved in conservation projects on the moor.

He was elected chairman of the park authority in 2005 and retired last year.

image captionMr Westlake said he still has work to do on the council to help people

"They've singled me out but I've been privileged to work with so many people involved in caring for the moor - from picking up litter to building walls and repairing banks.

"I'm so thrilled but really this is collective recognition for everyone who thinks Dartmoor is special - not just the area but the community who lives here."

Mr Westlake was 15 when he started work with British Rail at Okehampton.

"I started on steam trains on the North Cornwall line and when I retired I was driving one of the high speed trains from London Paddington to Exeter and Penzance," he said.

His career as a train driver was not a smooth ride, having been made redundant twice because of the infamous "Beeching Axe" in 1963 and later because of further rationalisation.

His honour also recognises his services to the community of Exeter, where he has served for 25 years as a county councillor.

"This is a real honour for me, but I've still got a long way to go and I'll carry on trying to improve the way in which people live," he said.

"I suppose it's about keeping your feet on the ground and remembering you're representing the community who elected you."


Other honours in Devon:

Order of the British Empire


  • Susan Adams, from Crediton, for services to the housing sector for older people.
  • Former deputy chief executive of Devon County Council, Edward Chorlton, for services to local government.
  • Nicholas Randle, from Honiton, for services to local government.


  • Susan Farrington (known as Doble), from Hockworthy, for services to British heritage in Pakistan
  • Peter Flukes, from Liskeard, for services to the community in Wolseley, Plymouth.
  • Crime Prevention Panel Chairman Robert Gilliat, from Ilfracombe, for voluntary service to the police.
  • Elizabeth Kerr, from Exeter, for voluntary service to disabled children.
  • William Little, from Totnes, for services to the community in Dartington.
  • Anne Walker, from Newton Abbot, for services to business.
  • Vivienne Yandell, from Kingsbridge, for services to business and charity in Saltash, Cornwall

Queen's Fire Service Medal

Awarded to Neil Gibbins, deputy chief fire officer, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.

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