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Palace honour for man behind Challenge event

Colin Clarke MBE

Colin Clarke MBE

Prince Charles presented a North Kilworth man with an MBE for his role in helping to raise more than one million pound for good causes.

Colin Clarke, one of the founding organisers of the Kilworth Challenge, was awarded the medal at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

He travelled to London for the ceremony with his wife Avril and their children Matthew and Stephanie.

Mr Clarke told the Mail: “It was an amazing experience. To drive through the palace gates and get to park in the quadrangle inside was amazing.

“The recipients were taken into the long gallery and instructed on how to conduct ourselves during the ceremony. I was speaking to some of the others and it was humbling to hear their stories - acts of heroism in battle, people who spend their time looking after the elderly - it puts it all into perspective.

“We were taken through and presented to Prince Charles. It was quite astonishing.

“It was somewhat awe-inspiring really. It’s not every day that people from our end of the spectrum get to visit the palace. It’s a shame you’re not allowed to take pictures inside because it is absolutely beautiful.

“The pageantry of the ceremony was fabulous. It’s something that not many countries do and we ought to be proud of that.”

Mr Clarke was awarded the MBE for charitable services in this year’s Queen’s New Year Honours List.

He was one of those behind the first Kilworth Challenge, held in 1990 to raise money to build an all-weather sports facility in North Kilworth.

The team - which also included Dave Barker, Stuart Burrell, Peter Jones and Bob Smythers - raised £7,500.

It was enough to pay for the all-weather facility, with ebnough money left over for a donation to Guide Dogs for the Blind. Today proceeds from the event - a gruelling but fun obstacle course held over two days in countryside in the Kilworth area - is distributed to a range of local causes as well as charities further afield.

The Challenge - today organised by Colin alongside Mike Lawrence, Paul Whitehead, Manfred Morris, Nick Otter, Bruce Phillips, Mick Faulkner and Duncan Moss - hit the £1m fundraising mark in 2012.

“It really is a team effort,” said Colin.

“On occasions like this someone gets the credit and this time it was me but I received the medal on behalf of the entire team.”

 

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