Torquay bandsman's pride as he receives MBE from Queen
THE Queen paused for a few minutes to ask about Royal Marine Thomas Hodge's work when he visited Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE.
The bandmaster from Torquay, who plays in the Royal Marines' Band and is based in Portsmouth, was beaming with pride when he met her Majesty.
The 45-year-old former St Cuthbert Mayne pupil, who has played in five of the six Royal Marines bands in the UK, was accompanied to the Palace by his mother and sister, Patricia and Sarah Hodge, and a group of friends.
Bandmaster Hodge received his MBE for his involvement and dedication to the Royal Marines' Band Service.
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A cornet and piano player, the father-of-one was involved in the Jubilee Pageant on the Thames and has conducted concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Warrant Officer 1 said it was a real honour to receive the award.
He said: "The Queen had a word for everyone. She asked me about arranging and composing music."
Mrs Hodge said it was the first time she had been inside the Palace.
She said: "We've been outside the gates before, but never inside. It was an amazing experience. Thomas was very nervous, but very proud.
"He shook hands with the Queen and had a chat with her. She spoke to all 51 people who received an honour. She was very good."
Mrs Hodge, who lives in Torquay, said she noted the chandeliers in the room, the decor and the Queen's pale blue frock with lace trimming at the bottom and how the event ran like clockwork. After the ceremony the Hodges and friends went to dinner at the Groucho Club.