COMMUNITY champions have been recognised for their dedication in the Queen's birthday honours list.

Michael Bissell will receive an MBE for services to charity, while award-winning author Kate Clanchy has been commended for services to literature in schools.

Bissell, 77, has been involved with various good causes throughout his lifetime and was president and chairman of Reading YMCA.

He operated Bath Lodge for more than 45 years and helped to set up a number of residential homes before being forced to retire.

He said: "I had just come back from holiday when I heard the news and I though it was a wind-up.

"When I realised it was not, I felt very humbled and honoured to be named. You have to throw yourself into these sorts of things.

"We set up residential homes in Reading, but sadly my wife died in 2009. I have been a governor of Katesgrove School and set up a number of third-world projects for schools.

"It is nice to get the honour, but obviously that is not why I started doing all this week many years ago."

Meanwhile, Clanchy, a creative writing lecturer at the University of Reading, has spent the last nine years nurturing young talent.

She added: “I was very surprised to be awarded an MBE, but also very pleased.

"MBEs are for service and I like to think this one honours my work in schools and so the importance of literature in schools.”

The honour has been awarded in recognition of her work as a writer in residence at Oxford Spires Academy.

The school has been hugely successful in poetry competitions, with pupils winning multiple national prizes during the last five years.

Clanchy, a writer of fiction, poetry and drama, was appointed as a Creative Writing tutor at the University of Reading in January 2018, alongside fellow author Shelley Harris.

The best of her pupils’ poetry is due to be published in a new anthology, England: Poems from a School.