Charity heroes are honoured with MBEs

Jack Stephenson stands proud with his MBE.Picture Richard Ponter 132515
Jack Stephenson stands proud with his MBE.Picture Richard Ponter 132515

Scarborough’s collection of MBEs is growing as charity stalwart Avis Turner is listed for the honour while bus businessman Jack Stephenson picks up his medal.

Mrs Turner, 61, of Scalby Road, was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours as a Member of the British Empire in honour of her services to Young People.

Her 30 plus year dedication to volunteering began in the 1970’s when through Whitby’s Mencap Gateway Club she founded a resource for people with learning difficulties.

She then moved to Scarborough’s Gateway Club, where she created Basics Plus which provides employment opportunities for disabled people.

Recently Mrs Turner has taken on Betton Farm, a run-down visitor complex which she agreed to run on behalf of Scarborough Social Services Department. She has developed this facility to include a restaurant, petting farm and play area.

Mrs Turner said: “I was absolutely shell shocked when I got the letter to say I was being awarded an MBE. I can’t explain how I felt, it was a mixture of feeling humble and honoured.

“Its not just an honour for me it’s recognition of all the hard work and dedication of everyone from the staff to the volunteers and the parents.”

Meanwhile last Thursday Jack Stephenson was invited to Buckingham Palace to collect his MBE after being listed in the New Year Honours for his services to the community and charity in Scarborough.

He said: “It was a great day and the Queen was absolutely superb. I admit I wasn’t much of a royalist but she converted me, she was wonderful to speak to and was actually interested in what I had to say. It really was a day I will never forget.”

Mr Stephenson, who for nearly 24 years has run Shoreline Suncruisers, has held a variety of positions in the community including being a member of the Scarborough Mental Health Committee, a magistrate, chairman of the North Yorkshire Probation Committee, a trustee of Scarborough Age Concern, and chairman of governors at Wheatcroft School and Brompton Hall School.