Award honour given to YMCA star Chris

Chris Wilby with Lord Crathorne
Chris Wilby with Lord Crathorne
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A Scarborough man has been presented with his British Empire Medal after he featured in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list.

Chris Wilby, retired executive director of Scarborough’s YMCA, was among a number of community stalwarts whose efforts were recognised.

Mr Wilby, who was made an honorary freeman of the Borough of Scarborough in 2005, has made a huge contribution to the YMCA since he got involved with the organisation as a youngster.

He was one of five people from across North Yorkshire and Teeside who were invited to County Hall, Northallerton, to receive their British Empire Medal (BEM).

The medals were presented by Lord Crathorne, Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire.

Mr Wilby said: “It was absolutely brilliant. Lord Crathorne was wonderful - he made people feel relaxed and at home.

“I thought it would be a very formal occasion, and it was in a way, but not too formal. It was an excellent day - I really enjoyed it.”

Mr Wilby explained that the day began with introductions and a speech by Lord Crathorne, who then presented the awards.

He then gave a synopsis about the work each of the attendees had done, which was followed by a buffet.

Mr Wilby was accompanied to the event by his wife Jenny and daughter Sarah.

They were relieved to make it, as heavy snowfall prior to the event was causing travel problems across the region.

Mr Wilby said: “We’d also booked a cottage in West Whitton and I didn’t know if we’d get there, but we made it in the end!”

He added that since receiving the award, he has had many lovely comments and letters from people, including Scarborough’s town crier Alan Booth and Archbishop of York, John Sentamu.

Reasons behind Mr Wilby receiving the medal were given as his dedication and ambition to helping young people achieve their goals in life.

He carried out pioneering work in TV and video, opening one of the first studios to be run by youngsters themselves.

Many former YMCA performers from Scarborough have gone on to successful careers in the theatre.