A CHURCH warden and organist has been awarded A British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to young people and to the community in Abergele.

George Leonard Ellis, better known as Len, was named in the New Year Honours List 2021.

Mr Ellis, of St Michael’s Church in Abergele, has been an active member of the Abergele community all his life.

Aside from receiving the honour for services to young people and the community, he has been praised for his work with the Urdd movement and Eisteddfod.

In 2017, he was presented with the Conwy County Urdd award mainly for accompanying folk dancing teams within the county and National Eisteddfod.

Len, who is married to Eirlys, said: “I am delighted and humbled to have been nominated for this award. When I was first contacted by email and then by telephone, I assumed it was a scam. It took a lot of convincing by the cabinet office for me to believe them.

“I’m particularly pleased there’s an 'E' in the middle of the initials BEM, which I take to mean, Eirlys, my wife.

“She and I have done so much together and this award recognises her work too.

“We both received The John and Ceridwen Hughes Uwchaled Award, which is announced each year at the Urdd Eisteddfod and given to people who make a significant contribution to young people in Wales.

"She is a major contributor to all activities mentioned.

"Like the John and Ceridwen Hughes award, this also should be a joint one."

Mr Ellis worked as a motor vehicle engineering tutor at Coleg Llandrillo at the same time as being a retained fire-fighter. For four years, he was officer in charge.

While working at the college, he was appointed as an Edexcel External Verifier which included a number of years as their chief national external verifier on Motor Vehicle BTEC courses.

Mr Ellis, along with Eirlys, ran the Abergele branch of the Urdd Movement for 17 years. Together, they organised fundraising events and youth activities.

He was chief steward at the National Eisteddfod at Abergele in 1995 and was safety officer for many years at the Urdd Eisteddfod.

Mr Ellis plays the accordion and has been a regular organist at St Michael’s Church for the last 30 years.

He is also an accomplish harpist and a member of the Gorsedd of Bards with the bardic name of Telynor y Rhos.

He successfully applied for a £72,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out essential repairs to the church’s tower and to reorder the West End of the church.

As a Welsh speaker, Len coordinates and promotes the weekly Addoliad Service, which is increasingly popular with both Welsh speakers and learners. Len has been a church warden for more than seven years. As part of the role, he manages the six-acre churchyard.

Revd Kate Johnson, vicar of St Michael’s, said: "I am over the moon that Len was nominated for this medal. Both he and Eirlys deserve to be recognised for their passion for the community of Abergele and especially among young people. Len is very organised, has a great sense of humour and loves music.

"I am very grateful for his friendship.”