On Tuesday 16th May, Chris Burrell, owner of constructions business CB Solutions, along with wife Diana, will head to Buckingham Palace to meet the monarch having been rewarded for his commitment and service to the construction industry which has seen him undertake work in far-flung places such as Bosnia and Japan.
“The invitation came from the Lord Chamberlain on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen and it said that The Queen would like to invite you to a garden party on Tuesday 16th May,” explained Chris.
“I think we both have to dress smartly with the ladies wearing fascinators and the men wearing lounge suits.
“I was amazed when I received the invite for recognition of my work in the construction industry.”
Little did Chris know that behind the scenes, his daughter, Kerry-Ann Taylor, had been going through a lengthy, two-year nomination process which included gathering testimonials from his peers in the construction industry as well as informing them of her dad’s amazing work over the years.
“A couple of years ago, I decided to write an awards letter to try and get my dad recognised for his commitment to the construction industry,” said Kerry-Ann.
“This came about following lots of conversations I had with my dad whilst growing up including stories about his time working in Bosnia during the war and in Japan.
“It was also good to hear about how he had grown his business. He had some unfortunate experiences many years ago when his first business went into administration after some of the schools he was working in were vandalised. But he has bounced back to run the little empire he now has.
“For the nomination, I needed other people in the construction industry to write support letters and it was nice to have conversations about my dad with people I have never met before.
“It’s really fitting as my dad is 60 this year as well.”
After completing the nomination, Kerry had to remain tight-lipped until the invitation popped through her father’s letterbox and when it did arrive Chris was keen to let her know.
“After deciding to nominate my dad, I had to keep it quiet as you are not allowed to discuss it,” continued Kerry.
“I remember coming out of the gym one evening to 10 missed calls from my dad. I called him back thinking that there must be an emergency, as you always think the worst.
“However, he told me that he had received a letter from Buckingham Palace to attend a garden party. It was in that first letter that it was explained he was being recognised for his commitment and service to the construction industry.
“I told him that I had nominated him but Dad wanted to keep it quiet until he had received his official invitation because I think he still didn’t quite believe what was going on or what it really meant.”
In the 1990s, much of Chris’ work took place abroad building temporary shelters in the aftermath of an earthquake in Japan and during the Bosnian civil war.
“In Japan I was there to teach locals how to erect temporary shelters that had been shipped over on giant aeroplanes by the United Nations,” he said. “140 of us helped put them up and made sure the Japanese had the required skills.
“From then on, we worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and we were in Bosnia during the first conflict.
“Again, we were building temporary shelters and my team were accompanied in armoured vehicles by the Yorkshire Regiment to find places where refugees had been displaced and put facilities in place.
“Every day, we travelled across a bridge during a two-hour journey from Split across to Mostar and then to Zenica.
“When we were travelling back on an evening, the Serbs would always be firing above us so whenever the army found a town, the first thing they did was find a route out and on one occasion, after the bridge had been bombed, we came back over the mountains on a pathway that had been created.”
Having served his time as an apprentice at Brandesburton-based Barker & Grantham Ltd, Chris has been his own boss from the age of 25 and having established CB Solutions in the early 2000s, he now oversees a business with a turnover of £6.8 million per year.
“I was born in Hull in 1957 and when my parents became publicans, we moved to the Bay Horse in Arnold and stayed there for three or four years,” said Chris.
“Then we moved to Skipsea and then to Beeford and Cottingham. I have two children – a daughter and a son.
My son has six children and Kerry has a little boy. Diana now runs the crematorium at Octon where we’re living at the moment.
“CB Solutions has grown over the last few years and we set up the company to manufacture windows and doors.
“We had our current site at the time and we have developed it since by knocking buildings down, put new applications in and built a new factory and offices.
“We have planning permission to completely develop the whole site and we’re about to start Phase 2.
“The company has been based at this site for 10 years and over the last three, we have taken the turnover from £2.8 million to £6.8 million and we are hoping for £11 million in the next three years.
“I’m looking forward to the garden party, especially the cucumber sandwiches! But it’s just an honour to meet The Queen.”