Man who fought to save Beccles Library named in Queen's Birthday Honours

Tony Brown, former chair of Suffolk Libraries, has been awarded a BEM in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2022.

Tony Brown, former chair of Suffolk Libraries, has been awarded a BEM in the Queen's Birthday Honours list 2022. - Credit: Suffolk Libraries

A Beccles man who has dedicated his life to education has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Anthony Lambert Tyrrell Brown, known as Tony, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his outstanding service to public libraries.

The 67-year-old former chair of Suffolk Libraries initially started a campaign to save Beccles Library from closure, before becoming involved in a wider project to protect sites across the county.

Mr Brown has been a member of the Suffolk Libraries board since 2013, including spending time as chair between 2013 and 2021.

Suffolk Libraries board members are voluntary and are elected from the organisation's membership of local Friends Groups, with Mr Brown representing the Friends of Beccles Library group.

Bruce Leeke, chief executive of Suffolk Libraries, said: "We’re delighted for Tony and this honour is well deserved.

"Tony has made a huge contribution to the success of Suffolk Libraries, leading the board and influencing the direction of the organisation for many years with the unwavering belief that what we do makes a real difference to the people of Suffolk.

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"He is a true visionary, inspiring confidence and influencing colleagues with his selfless passion for libraries."

Mr Brown spent around 15 years in advertising and marketing and worked on a major government campaign to launch training and enterprise councils.

He was also the first director of management education at the University of East Anglia, where he worked closely with practising managers in a variety of sectors, supporting dozens of MBA and MA dissertations.

He later became a trustee of Community Music East (CME) - an association that lasted over two decades, including spending 10 years as chair.

The group used music workshops to help build confidence and resilience in disadvantaged groups.

He also led research and development projects in the creative industries and the social enterprise sectors