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Sark "champion" receives MBE


Thursday 08 July 2021

Sark "champion" receives MBE

A Sark resident has been presented with Royal Honours for championing the island's heritage and culture.

Guernsey’s Lieutenant-Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Ian Corder, presented Dr Richard Axton with the MBE at the Island Hall before an audience of officials, family, colleagues and friends.

Dr Axton was awarded the MBE in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, in recognition of his services to heritage and the environment in Sark.

"Sark is distinctive in so many ways and I am very glad to have been able to contribute to the preservation of its unique culture and historical landscape, as key elements in a better future," said Dr Axton.

"One of Sark’s great strengths is the skill and enthusiasm of its voluntary sector. For me, this award is also a recognition of all those people who freely give their time and effort for the benefit of Sark. If I’ve acted as a catalyst for that then I’m very pleased."

Dr Axton is an Emeritus Fellow in English at Christ’s College, Cambridge. He has spent 40 years researching and preserving the history of Sark and safeguarding its future.

He and his late wife, Dr Marie Axton, saved countless manuscript books and documents to establish a history of Sark life, legal proceedings and feudal land tenure, with their findings published through the UK Public Records Office.  


Pictured: Martin Neudorfl, who lives in Cesky Kramlov, Czech Republic, works with the last four native speakers of the ancient Sark language to preserve it. It was Dr Axton who first arranged for Mr Neudorfl to record and analyse the dialect.

Each year he has also raised money to fund archaeological excavation on Sark by a visiting expert, personally providing support, logistics and physical labour for the work. He continues to promote its many significant finds throughout the Channel Islands and UK to raise funds for La Société Sercquaise.

Dr Axton is also a champion of Sark’s unique social and cultural heritage. He arranged for an eminent Czech scholar to record and analyse Sark’s ancient Norman dialect. He also designed and built Sark Henge in 2015 to mark the 450th anniversary of the Island’s founding charter.

The local investiture was a rare but fitting tribute to Dr Axton's lifetime of work, said His Excellency Sir Ian Corder.

"It’s unusual for MBE investitures to take place outside of the Palace, but I think it was poignant for this ceremony to happen right here," he said. 

"Richard’s contribution to Sark has been truly remarkable and has created an authentic and enduring legacy."

Pictured top: Lucy Axton, His Excellency Sir Ian Corder, Dr Richard Axton MBE.

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