“Success in this context was not measured by cars, houses or social status but by the difference they make in people’s lives.
“If you are working and striving towards a goal, only focusing on the immediate rewards, financial or otherwise, it will fog your judgement and impair your decision-making.
“If you seek to make a difference, improve your community and create a better world for the generation behind you, your success will be rewarded beyond anything that you have ever imagined.”
Bert, who received a standing ovation, came to England from Jamaica in 1960 at the age of 16. He served in the RAF and then worked for the NHS until his retirement. He chaired Mosaic, a local group for black and mixed-race families, and in 2002 he co-launched Brighton and Hove Black History. He also organised the Chattri Memorial service on the Sussex Downs, which commemorates Indian soldiers who fought during the First World War.
He was introduced at the ceremony by Professor Chris Pole who recounted Bert’s comment to a local reporter after receiving his MBE. Bert was quoted: “I feel quite touched really, and quite honoured. I would not have been able to do it without the community. They have been really supportive. There are such beautiful people in Brighton – the nicest place I have ever met. This award is for them.”