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Honour from Queen - Wigan Casino Soul DJ Richard Searling

Wigan Today newspaper reporting the news that Richard Searling has been awarded the British Empire Medal in this weeks Queens Birthday Honours 

'Richard Searling, who was the resident deck-spinner at the famous Northern Soul venue for seven years starting in 1974, said he was honoured to receive the accolade.

He received the BEM for services to the soul music industry and community in the north of England.

The 66-year-old was put forward for the honour by listeners to his radio shows.'

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Richard respect and so well deserved. Also really enjoyed reading your book as 1979-81 at the Casino and notably Saturday nights were really special moments in my life that I have wonderful memories of.

Mark Oliver (Gloucester)

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It's not just the establishment. Certain people put in a lot of effort to make this happen, and while we can sneer at the motives of vote hungry politicians trying to hitch a ride on the back of whoever/whatever seems to be popular, sometimes they get it right (even if in the style of the stopped analogue clock that's right twice a day).

Unfortunately the British state hands out medals that commemorate something that should really not be celebrated. I live in a state that never had an empire and so they find other emblems to use when honouring the great and occasionally good. Every state does this. In the USA Congress is widely regarded as a "swamp" and a den of corruption, but there's something called the Congressional Medal of Honor.

All state awards are tainted by whatever history or institution is attached to them. But it's a positive thing if someone like RS gets recognised, instead of some greasy pole climbing, arms dealing, tax dodging, labour exploiting, moneygrubbing tosser who buys himself access to the PM via campaign donations.

Part of Richard's recognition salutes his contribution to economic life in the north of England. As a regular visitor who loves the place I'm angry at how the same state that has squeezed millions upon millions of pounds of value out of the people and resources there over centuries has allowed large swathes of it to decline and decay. I wandered around the centre of Blackpool last weekend wishing that those w*nkers currently competing to be next PM, along with Chuka Umunna and all the smoothie tv sofa friendly "caring but responsible" posers would be forced to spend just 6 months living in a Blackpool bedsit/b&b on universal credit with all conditions attached, October-March (no summer for them). Let them explain to the homeless and poor how they understand, etc.

I also saw the love and appreciation of soul people who know that this award has got nothing to do with empire, the establishment, Theresa May, etc. Instead it's a well deserved honour that was nominated by ordinary people and owned by everyone who appreciates what Richard has done over the years. Congratulations to him and to everyone who has helped him along the way.

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