New Year's Honours: Wiltshire arrowsmith honoured

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Media captionHector Cole said he was "very delighted and very honoured" to receive the award

A master arrowsmith and bladesmith from Wiltshire has been recognised in the New Year's Honours list.

Hector Cole, 75, from Great Somerford, who specialises in forging medieval arrow heads, has been appointed MBE for his services to heritage crafts.

Also honoured in the region is John Edward Davies, who receives a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to cricket in Bishops Cannings.

Joyce Alice Hicks also receives a BEM for charitable services in Melksham.

Mr Cole, who runs an iron-working business in Little Somerford, said he was "very delighted and very honoured" to receive the award.

He described it as "amazing" and said it came as a "complete surprise".

He began "pumping the bellows" in a Lincolnshire village forge at the age of four-and-a-half.

Foremost arrowsmith

But it was his interest in the English longbow as a teenager which led him to forge his first arrowheads out of "six inch nails".

Since then, he has become the foremost arrowsmith in the country - rediscovering ancient British metalworking techniques and working on commissions for the Mary Rose Museum and the Museum of London.

"As far as I know I'm the only English professional arrowsmith," he said.

"It was an art that was virtually lost, and I've had to do the research, development and experimentation to get it back into a living business again."

Despite being a leading authority on forging historical arrowheads, Mr Cole said he was surprised to have been appointed MBE.

"There are other people who I'm sure deserve it more than I do," he said.

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