Harlow residents honoured in New Year honours

Communities / Fri 3rd Jan 2014 at 09:44am

grahamTWO Harlow residents have been honoured with British Empire Medals in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Chartered surveyor, Graham Ellis, 64, has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds after more than 35 years of fundraising.

Graham was one of the few Harlow residents to run in the first London Marathon in 1981 and since then has competed in numerous events for a large number of charities.

In November, Puffers Green resident, Graham, completed a 100kmm trek in the Sahara desert.

Infact, Graham was in the desert when he was told that he had been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM).

Graham said: “I have been fundraising for so long that I thought I had missed out. It’s lovely, and my family are very proud.

“It has been more than 30 years of fundraising and I am pleased to be recognised.”

The other recipient was Susan Ratcliffe, who receieved the honour for services to people with visual impairment.

Ms Ratcliffe, of Sheering Road, has been awarded the BEM for her work setting up a Guide Dogs Tribute Fund in memory of her late husband, Gary Ratcliffe who died in 2004, aged 42, after he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle in Old Harlow.

Ms Ratcliffe, has raised £125,000 through the fund and has “named” 24 guide dog puppies with several qualifying to become guide dogs.

In 2012, Sue won Guide Dogs Inspirational Fund-raiser of the Year.

She told the Daily Telegraph: “My late husband wanted to raise money for guide dogs. “He managed to raise £4,500 in six months just before he was killed which is a fantastic achievement then, when he died, we wanted to do something for him and organise a dog in his memory.

“The staff were talking about tribute funds and Gary’s was the first to be set up in the UK. With the Masonic Lodge I tried to do a few things a year and then we did another and it just snowballed.”

“We have raised £125,000 which is amazing. I see it as a group effort I will never take credit for all this fundraising – I organised the events but if it was not for people putting their hands in their pockets and people helping out then we would never raise any money.

“Gary would have been over the moon with everything and I am so grateful. It is very humbling.”

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