A  CAMPAIGNER who lived as a virtual recluse for 30 years after going blind before setting up a charity has received his MBE.

George Glass, 82, learned he was going to be awarded the British Empire Medal last summer for his work establishing BlindVoiceUK.

The Stockton man was given his medal by the Lord Lieutenant of Durham Paul Nicholson on behalf of the Queen earlier this week.

Mr Glass was born with little sight but went totally blind at the age of 24. He has said how he lived as a virtual recluse until at the age of 55 he started to try and reintegrate into society.

His story was taken up the citation read at the medal giving ceremony. It said: “In 1997, George and a group of likeminded people met to discuss issues on all aspects of total sight loss.

"A group was formed and the motto for the group was a George Bernard Shaw quote “to become a voice for the hearts that break the silence”, hence the original name Stockton Blind People’s Voice UK, the voice that represents blind people.

“George’s dedication, hard work and commitment in significantly furthering the needs and rights of blind people makes him a very worthy recipient of this award.”