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Beesotted contributor Jim Levack offers his congratulations to Peter Gilham, who receives the British Empire Medal for services to football in the New Year’s honours list. A true Brentford Football Club legend.

As the move to our new stadium edged ever closer more than two drama-packed years ago, the inevitable fear and uncertainty grew among Brentford fans.

Would we lose our identity, would the new ground feel impersonal, would we suffer a transitionary blip in performances, would it really feel like home after a century plus at Griffin Park?

For those long in the tooth supporters who never thought they’d see the Bees in the top flight (again) and the younger ones new to the euphoria of the club’s resurgence, the move was a defining moment.

So many clubs up and down the country have struggled to make the successful switch to a new ground ­– just ask unhappy Hammers fans – but our transition was seamless.

That was thanks in no small part to the continuity provided by Peter Gilham, Mr Brentford, the man on the mike and the longest serving stadium announcer in the UK.

He’s been a constant in our lives since 1969, from his time perched in the rundown wooden booth as matchday music presenter to the more salubrious surroundings of the Gtech.

As a very young child his voice was always a comfort to me – his dubious choice of jumpers less so – and he has been a constant in my life and those of thousands of others. Like us, a true one-club man.

I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know Peter quite well in my comparatively meagre 35 odd years covering the club as a journalist… and what you see is very much what you get.

He’s been kind, helpful, generous with his time and over the years I’ve often felt very close to him. When I gave him a hug after he got the all clear from his health scare, it felt like I was embracing an uncle.

If he has a ‘fault’, it’s that he’s totally myopic in his role. I can recall games in the bad old days where we’ve been completely outplayed and said as much to him post-match. Only to be met with a ferocious defence of the players he clearly regards as his family.

Peter has dabbled in pitch-side dad dancing, maintained healthy links with former players from Bradley Walsh to Kammy and even given the occasional pre-match teamtalk when we face the team he delightfully dismisses as “the side from Shepherd’s Bush”.

But despite being the go-to liaison man for superstars such as Christian Eriksen, he’s also approachable, warm and friendly. Every Brentford fan feels they know Peter Gilham BEM personally.

And it was that attribute that made the move from our spiritual home to our new era fortress that much easier to bear. Peter was the oil that ensured the switch was as smooth as Josh Dasilva’s London Stadium finish.

He is what makes Brentford utterly unique in an age and a game when knee jerk reaction is king and long-term planning frowned upon by owners hungry for instant success.

There can’t be many clubs who would have shown absolute faith in Thomas Frank after the start he endured, but then – as we all know – there aren’t many clubs like Brentford.

His New Year Honour is fitting reward for a lifetime dedicated to the club he loves and the countless lives he’s touched in the borough.

He’s certainly touched mine and I’m sure that many people reading this will have stories of their encounters with Peter, a man I know will take the award of such a prestigious gong modestly and in his stride.

He’ll never admit it, but secretly in those quieter moments when he’s not belting out his rousing pre-kick off chant, the title of Mr Brentford means almost as much.

Congratulations Peter.

Jim Levack