Middleham welfare officer awarded MBE in New Year’s Honours

Raye Wilkinson.

Middleham racing welfare officer Raye Wilkinson has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

The 76-year-old received the recognition for services to young people and elderly staff in the horseracing community.

Raye 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.

Raye told the Racing Post: “It was very much a surprise. It took my breath away because it wasn’t something I expected or thought about.

“It came out of the blue and I was astounded. I’m proud somebody has recognised it – there must be two or three people who think I’ve done a good job, which means something.

“This award is on behalf of all stable staff and I have nothing but admiration for them. They all live away from their parental home, work hard, play hard and invariably keep smiling.”