Charity Work of Essex Freemason, Brian Chenier, Recognised with an MBE

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Brian Chenier of Colcestria Lodge No. 7123, which meets at Colchester Masonic Centre, was able to count down to 2022 with three new letters awarded to his name. The Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) accolade came in recognition of his service to Blesma members and the wider amputee veterans’ community, and for his continuing efforts to improve provision and facilities.

“It was a wonderful surprise and a very big shock to be nominated” says Brian. “I am incredibly proud of the work I do at Blesma, but for someone to take the time to recognise it and recommend me is very special.”  Brian and his wife, Sonja, had kept the nomination a secret ever since a bulky white envelope bearing a parliamentary crest landed on their doormat in late November

“I had no idea what it was, but it looked very official!” says Brian, who has been the Charity’s Prosthetics Support Office for almost nine years. Brian Chenier, who was in the Army for 27 years, plays a wide ranging and integral of Blesma’s prosthetics service; from handling individual grants and equipment funding through to shaping NHS policy and keeping pace with new technology that might potentially be beneficial to Members.

“My first exposure to Blesma was through my dad; he became a Member and I witnessed the help that he and my mum received from the Association as they navigated an often-difficult landscape,” he says. “Before working for Blesma I was aware of the fantastic support they provided as my dad benefited from the Charity as he was a veteran. When he had his leg amputated in 2007, he needed a lot of advice and support with things like moving house and claiming the right benefits. Blesma also enabled him and my mother to take respite breaks.

Brian continues his work with Blesma and also is now with the Essex Provincial Membership Pathway Team for the Colchester and Tendring areas as a Group Membership Officer helping Lodges attract new members and retain added value for their existing membership.