Norfolk’s historic churches have a staunch royal supporter in the Prince of Wales.
He is patron of the Norfolk Churches Trust, which exists to safeguard the county’s religious heritage, including the biggest concentration of medieval churches in the world.
As patron, the Prince personally signs the certificate given to the most successful fundraiser in the popular and important annual sponsored bike ride which has raised millions of pounds in support of the trust’s work.
It was particularly appropriate, therefore, that it was the Prince who, on Friday at Buckingham Palace, invested Malcolm Fisher with the MBE he was awarded in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his services to the trust.
Mr Fisher, a resident of Laxfield, was company secretary of the trust from 1995 until he retired in 2014.
At the time he was made an MBE, he said that he was “humbled” by the award, and described receiving it was “the proudest moment of my life”.
“It was a great privilege,” he added, and said it was especially nice to receive it from the Prince as he patron of the trust.
He was accompanied to the Palace by his daughters Caroline and Amanda, his stepson Malcolm and his wife Jill, and his friend Catherine Benstead.
“It was a unique and enjoyable experience,” said Mr Fisher, who was accustomed to attending formal occasions in his years at the trust, but had never attended one before when he was the recipient of an award.
He found one of the most interesting parts of the day the opportunity to talk to other recipients about their experiences and the reasons why they had also been included in the Birthday Honours.
Former bank manager Mr Fisher, 76, became aware of the burden on parishes of maintaining their churches when he was living near Norwich and his late wife was a warden at their place of worship.
As company secretary of the churches trust, he guided parishes on the work to be undertaken on their churches and on funding.