Charity worker from Shipley ‘delighted’ at MBE honour

Richard Groom, long-serving charity worker for various causes, awarded an MBE. Pic Steve Robards    SR1529694 SUS-151229-170727001
Richard Groom, long-serving charity worker for various causes, awarded an MBE. Pic Steve Robards SR1529694 SUS-151229-170727001

A charity worker who lends a hand to disabled children, disadvantaged young adults and the elderly has been honoured for his efforts.

Richard Groom, who lives in Shipley, has been awarded an MBE for services to the community, particularly disabled young people.

The 73-year-old admitted he has been struggling to keep the honour a secret from his family, as only wife Maureen was aware before the official announcement today (Wednesday December 30).

He said: “I am delighted and really surprised that people think I am worthy of the recognition.

“I do quite a lot of charity work, and you do it because you enjoy doing it, and for the benefit of people you are serving.”

Richard helped to raise millions while chairman of the Lord’s Taverners, an organisation that gives disadvantaged children the opportunity to play and engage in sport, and has been a trustee since 1997.

He has also acted as chairman of the Orpheus Centre, a performing arts college for disabled young adults in Surrey.

In addition to these roles, he is a board member of Care South, which owns care homes across the region, and among other roles has been a parish councillor.

Speaking about the Lord’s Taverners, he said: “The purpose of the charity is to look after disadvantaged children who can’t get out to places and see things and play sports because of their disability.

“We provide them with minibuses and have over 1,200 now on the road, I used to be responsible for buying those buses.

“To see the faces of those youngsters when they get their buses is amazing. They are normally confined to their homes, so they can do things that wouldn’t be possible for them.”

Richard, who has lived in Shipley for 35 years, also helped to turn around the perilous financial situation of the Orpheus Centre by implementing a successful business model that similar centres may imitate in the future.

He said: “I had a reasonably successful time as chairman of the Orpheus Centre. It was in a poor financial state when I took it over and is now richer.

“We have disadvantaged adults aged 18 to 25 and teach them lifetime skills.”

Rockstar Damon Albarn, jockey AP McCoy and actor Idris Elba are among the famous names recognised in the New Year’s Honours List.

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