MBEs for charity founders, Mike and Helen Taylor

The founders of a King’s Lynn-based military charity which has supported thousands of veterans have both been awarded MBEs.

Husband and wife team, Mike and Helen Taylor, of The Bridge For Heroes, have both been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

For more than a decade, their work and dedication has helped many veterans in need, including those struggling to adjust to civilian life after years in service.

Mrs Taylor said they were both overwhelmed. “It has all very much been a team effort of many people over the years. Although I do not feel deserving of any award, I am honoured to be nominated for such a special award and will humbly accept it on behalf of our great charity team and it will only make me strive to continue to be of service to my community (not just the armed forces community) in any way I can.”

In 2010, the couple moved to West Norfolk to be closer to family and they saw the need for a charity specifically to support the armed forces community.

Mr Taylor had been a soldier in the army for 18 years and served in Northern Island, Iraq and Bosnia.

The couple poured their savings into setting up The Bridge for Heroes – the country’s first dedicated facility to offer emotional support for members of the military, veterans, and their families.

The charity has a contact centre in South Clough Lane which started as a  drop-in centre and now has a dedicated team of volunteers, mostly drawn from the ex-service community, who also play a vital role in fundraising.

Also receiving an award is the head of Norfolk’s Special Constabulary with an MBE for more than 22 years’ commitment to the force. Special Chief Officer Darren Taylor joined the ranks of the Specials aged 24 and 22 years on, he still dons the uniform to serve his community, while working full time. His award was in recognition of Services to Policing and the Community of Norfolk.