AN Ashbourne man born and bred, politician Andrew Lewer, has been to Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE, which was awarded to him in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.
Councillor Lewer made the trip with wife Gabriela and his parents, Cliff and Sandra. The Princess Royal presented the award, in a ceremony held in the Throne Room, with the Countess of Wessex's string orchestra playing classical music in the background.
He said: "We had a super day at the Palace. Princess Anne took a real interest in all of us and we all had the chance of a conversation as our medals were given to us by her.
"The variety of people being honoured was fascinating; not only from all parts of the UK, but in every imaginable area of public, charitable, military and religious life."
Councillor Lewer, who lives with his wife and two-year-old son Philip in Hopton, became the youngest ever leader of a county council when the Conservative Party came to power in 2009.
He was elected on to the county council in 2005 and became leader of the opposition in 2007 before taking on the top role following the 2009 local government elections.
On a county level, Councillor Lewer, now leader of the opposition, represents the Ashbourne division but he also serves on the district council as a ward member for Ashbourne South.
He is also currently number two on the regional list for European Parliament, a governor for the University of Derby and the vice-chairman of the Derbyshire Dales Conservative Association.
On a national level, Councillor Lewer, 42, a former Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School pupil, is also deputy chairman of the Local Government Association.
Councillor Lewer attended QEGS between 1982 and 1989 and after leaving school he went on to study history at Newcastle University and at Downing College, Cambridge, before returning to Ashbourne where he enjoyed a career in publishing, including working for Ashbourne-based firm Landmark Publishing, ahead of his move into politics in 2003.