On Tuesday 3rd November it was a great privilege and honour to see Maurice Humphris being presented with the British Empire Medal at Pembroke College, Oxford. He received the award for services to the community of Banbury when he was described as Mr Banbury.
Maurice worked tirelessly at Humphris Funerals formally known as J&M Humphris from 1955 – 2000.
During the last 60 years or more Maurice has been involved in a large variety of activities. For the whole of his life he has been involved with Marlborough Road Methodist Church where he was a Sunday School teacher from the age of 16 holding many other posts including church steward and Sunday School Superintendent. He and his wife Rita also ran a youth club for some 10 years in the 1970’s.
He was chairman of Banbury round table and honorary President of that club becoming only the second person to hold this position. He has been a member of the Rotary club of Banbury for over 40 years and was President in the early 2000’s; Maurice is also an honorary member of the Rotary club of Brackley. In December 2005 he received the converted Paul Harris fellowship award of the Rotary movement for exceptional service to the community; he is one of only about 12 people to have received such an award from the club over the 50 years.
For almost 40 years he serviced as a magistrate on the Banbury and Chipping Norton bench and for approximately 10 years was chairman of the bench as well as also being chairman of the licensing committee. He was chairman of the Banbury old charitable association until this ceased to exist. Maurice served on many committees including charing the post graduate appeal at the Horton General Hospital in the 1970’s and in more recent years at the Fine Lady appeal. During his working life he was chairman of the Oxfordshire National Association of Funeral Directors, Southern area President of the National Association of Funeral Directors and also served as an officer in the Midlands area of the National Association of Funeral Directors. Since retiring until 2 years ago he was a CAB adviser in Banbury. For many years he served on the Home Start committee and the committee for the Racial Equality.
In 2003 Maurice received the great honour of being made a deputy Lord Lieutenant for Oxfordshire.
Recently he was on the appeal committee for the new Cheshire Home and has also served on the appeal committee for St Mary’s Parish Church restoration fund.
Now in his 80’s he still regularly helps with a variety of local and national charities particularly Katharine House Hospice and the Royal National Lifeboat Association. He regularly provides transport to local hospitals for those unable to drive themselves. He has also recently become involved with the Banbury Guardian talking newspapers.
In 2010 he became only the second person to be made a Burgess of Banbury for the work and commitment he has shown to the town.
Maurice has always said that he couldn’t have done what he has without the fantastic support from his wife Rita to whom he has been married to for almost 60 years.