New Year Honour for stalwart Rob
A COMMUNITY stalwart who has been a major part of life in Great Oxendon for more than 20 years has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
Rob Barker organises the village youth club, sits on the parish council, chairs the village hall committee, coaches at Market Harborough Rugby Club and Clipston Primary and is a member of the Leicestershire Society of Rugby Union Referees.
But the 55-year-old father-of-two said he was still surprised when news of the award came.
He said: “When I got the letter from the Cabinet Office I thought someone was playing a practical joke.
“But after reading it a few times I realised it was genuine and I’m very honoured.”
His father started the Great Oxendon youth club in the 1960s and Mr Barker took over in 1975.
He moved away and the club shut in 1980. Five years later, Mr Barker moved back and reopened the club, which meets every Tuesday to enjoy a range of fun activities.
His dedication to the club extends to giving young members that need it a lift home after.
Mr Barker, who has two children, Callum and Chelsea, said: “My mother Marie still helps me every week at the youth club and she’s nearly 80, so that’s pretty good going.
“My wife Jackie supports everything I do too. Without that support at home it wouldn’t be possible.
The British Empire Medal is awarded for “meritorious civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown” and its recipients are entitled to put the letters ‘BEM’ after their name. The award was established in 1922 and handed out to deserving people each year until 1992. It was reintroduced for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.
“I don’t do it for awards,” said Mr Barker. “I just enjoy getting involved in things, but it’s nice to receive one.
“I found out a couple of weeks ago but was sworn to secrecy until it was announced officially.. The people I have seen have been extremely pleased for me and say it’s well deserved, so that’s nice.
“I’m looking forward to visiting Buckingham Palace.”
4 Colin Clarke received an MBE for charitable services thanks to his work with the Kilworth Challenge.
The Challenge, which has been going for 22 years, reached and breached the £1m fundraising mark this year.
Money from the event, which sees teams take on a gruelling series of obstacles, raises money for good causes in the Harborough area and beyond.
4 William Connell, of Clipston, performance director at the British Equestrian Federation, will also receive an MBE for services to the sport and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
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Weather for Harborough
Friday 24 May 2013
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