'Bitter sweet' posthumous MBE for Marlow 'pillar of the community'

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams


A Marlow man has been awarded a posthumous MBE for services to the community after he missed the chance to pick up the award himself due to COVID-19.

John Chapman was ‘a pillar of the local community in Marlow for many years’. He received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List in 2020.

He was due to receive his award at Buckingham Palace in May of that year, joined by his three daughters, Lizzi, Alyson and Penny.

Unfortunately, coronavirus caused the presentation to be postponed. John wanted his three daughters to be there but this proved to be a challenge when attempting to rearrange the date.

It was then planned for the Lord Lieutenant to present John with his MBE at a ceremony during Remembrance Week in Marlow in 2020.

But the day before, lockdown struck again, so it was postponed for a second time.

John was taken ill in early January 2021, and he was admitted to Wexham Park Hospital.

His condition deteriorated, so arrangements were made for the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire to present it to him in hospital if possible.

Sadly, John died before it could be presented. His funeral was held on March 9, 2021.

In his stead, the MBE was awarded to his family on Monday (June 27) by the Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Lady Howe, at the Marlow Royal British Legion.

Daughters Lizzi and Alyson travelled in from Australia and the USA respectively to be there with fellow sister Penny, celebrating with a short ceremony in the presence of invited guests.

It was followed by a Service of Thanksgiving at All Saints Parish Church in Marlow, to which the wider community and friends from the global rowing community were invited.

Lizzi Chapman said: “It was really wonderful – he was so proud to have won the MBE and it was lovely to have the three daughters together again.

“It’s bittersweet because we’d much rather see that medal being presented to him.

“The way the Lord Lieutenant handled everything was marvellous. We were very conscious of just how supportive the Marlow community were. The outpouring of grief took us aback.

“We’re so grateful to have been made to feel an important part of the community.”

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