A BOMB disposal expert from Ramsbottom was one of five Army reservists to be recognised in the New Year’s honours list.

Colonel Alastair James Cooper has served for 30 years around the world, and been stationed in Bosnia, Iraq, and the Falkland Islands.

He was awarded the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal in recognition of his work with the 29 Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search Group.

The father-of-three works as managing director of NSL Services, which provides non-emergency patient transport across the country, when he is not serving.

Col Cooper lives in Ramsbottom with his partner Sue, and said the award was the highlight of his Army career.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted and extremely proud to have been awarded the Queen’s Volunteer Reserve Medal.

“This is the highlight of my 30 years reserve service.”

The 48-year-old moved to Lancashire from his native Kent in 1993 to join the Corps of Royal Engineers.

During his Army career, Col Cooper has served on operations in Bosnia, and on exercise in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Iraq, Jordan, Norway, and the Falkland Islands.

He joined the army in October 1983 when he was still at school.

He has also served in the Infantry, Royal Artillery, and the Royal Engineers, and has worn six different cap badges over his three decades of service.

Col Cooper says the pinnacle of this career was commanding the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers, which is the Army Reserve’s senior regiment.

He was just one of five reservists to be awarded the medal, which was created in 1999 and recognises “exemplary personal performance over an extended period of service.”