Queen’s Award for business volunteer

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A retired businessman who has spent the past nine years as a volunteer advisor for firms in Oxfordshire and south Northants is to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion.

John Vernon, from Bampton, will be presented with his award at a Buckingham Palace reception in July.

Mr Vernon has assisted the Oxfordshire Businesses Enterprises advice service since 2004.

He said: “I feel what we do as a service is helping to kickstart the government drive to get more companies growing and more people into business.

“It is a really essential, free service which holds amazing value for the people of Oxfordshire.”

The service has given around 2,500 one-on-one sessions to businesses since it was taken over Cherwell District Council in 2007. More than 460 of these were in the Bicester and Banbury area, and 115 in areas including south Northants.