A BOMB disposal expert is one of just five Army reservists to be awarded a special medal in the New Year’s Honours List.

Colonel Alastair James Cooper, whose 30 years of service has seen him stationed in Bosnia, Iraq and the Falkland Islands, will receive the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal.

Col Cooper, who lives in Ramsbottom with his partner Sue, said the award was the ‘highlight’ of his career.

The dad-of-three, whose full-time job is as managing director of non-emergency patient transport provider NSL Care Services, joined the Army while he was still at school.

The 48-year-old, a former commander of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) Army Reserve, said: “I am absolutely delighted and extremely proud to have been awarded the Queen’s Volunteer Reserve Medal.

“This is the highlight of my thirty years of reserve service.”

Col Cooper’s award comes as recognition for his time serving with the 29 Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search Group.

He added: “I’m very, very pleased and it’s always nice to be recognised for what you do.

“It will certainly be a special day whenever I go accept it from a member of the Royal family.

Col Cooper moved to Lancashire from his native Kent in 1993 to join the Corps of Royal Engineers. He continues to serve as assistant commander of the 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group.

During time in the Army Reserve he also served on operations in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Jordan and Norway.