Prestigious royal honour for former Wigan Casino DJ

Friday 6th December 2019

A top Wigan Casino DJ has been presented with a prestigious royal honour.

Richard Searling, who was the resident deck-spinner at the iconic Northern Soul all-nighter venue for seven years, had a British Empire Medal (BEM) bestowed on him for services to music and community in the north of England.

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Mr Searling was presented with the honour by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester Warren Smith in a formal event at The Monastery in the Gorton area of Manchester.

He was also supported by the Mayor of Wigan, Coun Steve Dawber, who attended in recognition of how much his career in soul music has been interwtined with that of the borough and its famous nightspot.

Mr Searling was given the accolade in the Queen's Birthday Honours List earlier this year and said that receiving the BEM was a very special moment for him.

He added: "It was a big honour.

"There were five of us getting the BEM and one by one we were sent up to receive it and shake the Lord Lieutenant's hand.

"I was delighted to see the Mayor of Wigan.

"It was nice of him to come and support me as my career has been so closely linked with Wigan and Northern Soul.

"The Monastery is a fabulous place, it was a sensational venue for the ceremony.

"It's in a pretty run-down area of Manchester and it was going to be razed for flats but then it was rescued and has had Lottery funding spent on it."

Earlier this year when the honour was announced, Mr Searling said: "It's a reflection of my life in music and something tangible and very prestigious.

"Northern Soul is something the north of England can be proud of and our area is the best-known of all.

"You talk to anyone about Northern Soul and they will mention Wigan before anywhere else because of the Casino."

Mr Searling is also a radio presenter and music events organiser and also advised the award-nominated film Northern Soul.

The Lord Lieutenant said: "Today's recipients are true representatives of those who dedicate themselves to the communities within which they live or work."

The BEM is awarded for civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown.

It was re-established in 2012 to coincide with the Queen's diamond jubilee.


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