Oxford food bank founders made MBEs in Queen's Birthday Honours

Robin Aitken and David Cairns Robin Aitken (left) and David Cairns started the food bank from the back of their cars five years ago

The founders of Oxford's food bank service have been recognised on the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

David Cairns, 59, and Robin Aitken, 61, have been made MBEs for their services to vulnerable people.

The pair started the food bank in 2009 by delivering surplus food from one supermarket to five charities from the back of their cars.

Mr Cairns said: "I'm terribly humbled. It's a huge recognition to the volunteers and everything they put in."

It is run for nine hours a day, seven days a week, by more than 100 volunteers from the city.

The food bank picks up about five tonnes of fresh food each week from 12 stores that would otherwise get thrown away.

'It's astonishing'

Vegetables, fruit, milk, juice, eggs and bakery items are then delivered to more than 30 charities.

Mr Cairns said the service came about after a group of people raised concerns about the amount of food waste and how it could be reduced.

He added: "We were looking at the food chain and realised there was a huge surplus of food that was perfectly good.

"It's now taken on a life of its own, it's astonishing."

Elsewhere in Oxfordshire, Prof Colin Blakemore, director of the University of London's Centre for the Study of the Senses, has been knighted for services to scientific research, policy and outreach.

Knighthoods also go to Oxfordshire residents Prof John Pethica, chief scientific adviser of the National Physical Laboratory, for his services to science, and to Prof Richard Sorabji, King's College London professor emeritus, for services to philosophical scholarship.

Archaeologist Prof Martin Biddle OBE is made a CBE for his services to archaeology, as is Sonny Leong, chairman of Chinese for Labour, for his political service.

Other CBEs include Royal College of Midwives president Prof Lesley Page, for services to midwifery, and Thames Valley Police's director of information Amanda Cooper, for services to policing.

Fire service station manager Gary Mattingley, from Bicester, is made an OBE for services protecting communities from flooding.

Hospital fundraiser June Geraldine, of Wantage, is also among those made an OBE for her services to kidney patients in Oxfordshire.

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Birthday Honours 2014

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