North East Wales

Birthday honours: Sparrow Harrison gets MBE for Denbigh help group

Sparrow Harrison
Image caption Sparrow Harrison had to rebuild his 1950s museum after a fire in 2009

A man who helped people left homeless following the closure of a psychiatric hospital in Denbighshire says he is delighted to be honoured with an MBE.

Sparrow Harrison set up the Cae Dai Trust in Denbigh in 1994 to provide sheltered accommodation after the closure of nearby North Wales Hospital.

Residents help run the site's farm, orchard and 1950s museum as they rebuild their lives.

Mr Harrison, who inherited the estate, said he was keen to use it for good.

"I had an aunt who made sure this house came to me," said the 74-year-old who received his MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list announced on Friday evening.

"I thought I must use it in a way which suits her - I must help other people."

Mr Harrison has also been involved with the Denbigh Amateur Boxing Club for more than 50 years, still training youngsters today.

In the early 1970s he set up one of the UK's the first groups for people who stammer, later becoming the first president of the British Stammering Association.

He said he was delighted to be honoured for his charity work, although he considered his life to be "a total failure" as he was unable to follow in the family tradition of a distinguished military career.

"I had a bad stammer which made service life very difficult - the only thing that got me through was boxing," he said.

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