Middleham racing industry stalwart receives MBE

Front Row: Andrew Hitchen BEM, Brian Keen BEM, Jean Butterfield BEM, Valerie Hepworth BEM, Raye Wilkinson MBE, Bernard Coyne BEM. Second row: Cadet Sergeant Major Dylan Keane ACF, Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, Councillor Jim Clarke, The Lord-Lieutenant for North Yorkshire Mrs Johanna Ropner, Acting Leading Cadet Ellie Travill, SCC.

Middleham racing welfare officer Raye Wilkinson has received his MBE awarded to him in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

He was one of five residents in the North Yorkshire Lieutenancy area to be recognised for outstanding services which benefit those in their communities.

The recipients attended a ceremony at Camp Hill, Bedale, where medals were presented by the Lord-Lieutenant, Mrs Johanna Ropner, supported by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant, Mr Peter Scrope.

Lord-Lieutenant Johanna Ropner said: “It is always a privilege to present honours to residents who go the extra mile for their communities. I would like to say a big congratulations to the recipients, your work doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Raye received the recognition for services to young people and elderly staff in the horseracing community.

He has been involved in the industry for more than 50 years.

While working as a social worker in Catterick Garrison he arranged a job at a racing yard for a teenager from a children’s home.

He later ran the Middleham office of the charity Racing Welfare, formerly the Stable Lads Welfare Trust, a job he did for more than 30 years.

Raye is still working in the industry as welfare officer for Mark Johnston in Middleham.

Five other people received awarded British Empire Medals for services which benefit those in their communities.

They were:

  • Jean Butterfield for services to Local Government.
  • Bernard Coyne for voluntary services to Rugby Union in Middlesbrough.
  • Valerie Hepworth for services to the Yorkshire Gardens Trust and Conservation.
  • Andrew Hitchen for services to music in Harrogate.
  • Brian Keen for services to the community in Riccall, York.