Sir Robert Worcester – founder of opinion poll and research organisation Market and Opinion Research International (MORI) – has been presented with a special award by Kent County Council.
The Kent Invicta Award recognises residents of Kent who have achieved excellence in their chosen field or who have provided an exceptional service to the county.
As part of the award, Sir Robert, who has lived in Kent for more than 40 years, was also presented with a cheque for £5,000 which he has split giving half to Canterbury Cathedral Trust and half to Rochester Cathedral Trust.
Former KCC Chairman Peter Homewood was invited up to announce the accolade as the award, unanimously voted for by councillors, was due when he was chairman.
Cllr Homewood told the chamber at Thursday’s County Council meeting that it gave him “great pleasure” to give the award to Sir Robert.
He is past-president of the World Association for Public Opinion Research and in 2005 was awarded Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the Queen.
Sir Robert, who lives in Allington Castle near Maidstone, said: “I was speechless when I received the letter that you had given me this honour. It didn’t say it was unanimous though – is this a precedent?
“They tell a story in my former country, the United States, of the Trade Union leader who was seriously ill in hospital and he got a get well card from members of his executive that was passed on a vote of six to five.
“I had no idea it was such a handsome gift and it will have pride of place in the library of Allington Castle. I take great pride in my adopted country.”
The honour was in recognition of the “outstanding services rendered to political, social and economic research and for contribution to government policy and programmes”.
Sir Robert is a Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, a Kent County Council appointed Ambassador and independent Kent Environment Champion.
He served on the board of Locate in Kent and as a non-executive director of Medway Maritime Hospital.
As well as this, he is Emeritus Chancellor of the University of Kent and a Member of the Kent Business School Advisory Board.
More recently he has been busy as Deputy Chairman of the Magna Carta Trust and Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee which has arranged celebrations across the country this year.
KCC Chairman Mike Harrison said: “I congratulate you for all you have done and more than anything else in restoring Allington Castle.
“Seeing the pictures before and as it is now, it is a credit to you – and your cheque book. May I ask all in the chamber to stand and say thank you to Sir Robert and his wife, Margaret, Lady Worcester, for everything they have done.”