I'M PLEASED and delighted to hear the wonderful news that Chris Thomas has been awarded an MBE.

I take this amazing news as an opportunity to mention a few more things having know Chris since 2009.

Apart from his professional role with the MCA, Chris was trustee and chair of the Dorset Race Equality Council for over seven years.

Chris joined the organisation at a time when it was going through a difficult period and supported me as the recently appointed Chief Officer in turning it into one of the most successful and respected organisations in Dorset.

It become a major player in influencing policy and practice in local government, police, health and the voluntary sector in the county.

Apart from giving up so much time for the organisation as a trustee and Chair, Chris was an ambassador for the charity way beyond Dorset.

I have no doubt that someone somewhere in the four nations of the UK would have heard of the Dorset Race Equality Council.

I know that because on a plane flying back from Buenos Aries I was sitting next to couple from Scotland and on the long flight back to London we started chatting.

They asked me where I lived and what I did for a living.

I started telling them about my role as chief officer of the Dorset Race Equality Council and before I had a chance to explain what the organisation did, the husband of woman who asked me interjected and said: "Is Chris Thomas by any chance involved with your organisation?"

This guy was a representative of a seafarers organisation in the Hebrides and had a recent meeting with Chris on an Island in the Hebrides.

I almost fell off my seat which of course does not happen on a plane.

Black Lives Matter and they mattered and continue to do so for Chris.

Chris is a person of great integrity and inspiration, has helped to make a real difference to the lives of often forgotten, marginalised and vulnerable communities.

They got a voice thanks to the efforts of all those involved in the work of Dorset Race Equality Council and Chris as its inspirational ambassador.

Adnan Chaudry

Former Chief Officer Dorset Race Equality Council