A former EADT reporter and parish councillor has paid tribute to his late wife who he said was his "shining light", after being awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Richard Evans, who lives in Stansfield, near Bury St Edmunds, has been awarded the BEM for services to the community.

The announcement of the award, part of the King's Birthday Honours, follows the death in January of Mr Evans' wife, former Suffolk County Council deputy leader Mary, after a short illness.

Mr Evans, 70, said: “While I am deeply touched to be nominated for this honour, the real recipient should be my late wife.

"She was the shining light who did so much for Stansfield and dozens of similar villages throughout Suffolk.

“I have little doubt that her remarkable contribution, initially as a volunteer and latterly as a county councillor and deputy leader of Suffolk County Council, played a part in my nomination for a BEM.

"I am accepting the award in that spirit. No one would have been more deserving of public recognition than her.”

East Anglian Daily Times: Richard and Mary on their wedding dayRichard and Mary on their wedding day (Image: Supplied)

The couple met in the newsroom at the EADT offices in Lower Brook Street in 1975 and they married the following year.

After starting his journalistic career with the EADT and Cambridge Evening News, he worked for The Times for 20 years, where he was deputy political editor and subsequently racing correspondent, before spending 10 years on the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Evans served as a Stansfield parish councillor for a number of years, which included a period as chairman.

With his wife he set up Stansfield Bridge Club in 2007, which quickly became and remains one of the largest bridge clubs in the county, with a current membership of 150 people.

In 2007, he started teaching bridge full time and has taught more than 1,000 people to play the game.

Mr Evans also transformed a church focused newsletter into a monthly magazine of broader interest covering several villages and served two terms as its editor.