2nd Jul '20

Ray's MBE

One of the great things about Berkshire Youth is the people we meet and work with. We were therefore thrilled when our very own Ray Tapken was recently awarded an MBE for Service to Young People. Ray is the former CEO who now volunteers for Berkshire Youth one day per week, working on funding applications.

Ray writes: “I was gobsmacked when, in late November, I received the letter telling me of my impending appointment in the Queens New Year’s Honours with an MBE for ‘Service to Young People’. I had to write back to confirm I would accept if offered, which I duly did.

Keeping it secret until the lists were published on 28th December was very, very difficult. Then the leg pulling started, particularly in the Berkshire Youth office and the YMCA Reading, with much bowing, scraping, doffing caps, and being asked, ‘What do we call you now?!’ However, I was feeling very magnanimous and insisted on still being called Ray, at least in private!!

Throughout my 60 plus years working in various areas of the voluntary youth service, I always felt the real stars were the unpaid volunteers who turned out night after night, whatever the weather, to work with what could be challenging young people in clubs; large, medium or small, town or country. In truth I accepted the MBE as a recognition of all those volunteer workers and the many other unsung supporters without which there would be little or no non-uniformed youth service, particularly in this day and age.

The Investiture happened on 5th March at Buckingham Palace with Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales and our future King. It was a marvellous occasion never to be forgotten. He was well briefed and asked about my Youth Work experiences and in particular about Berkshire Youth, YMCA Reading and the Montgomery Holloway Music Trust, along with my voluntary fundraising efforts of recent times, which gave me a massive clue as to who might have been behind the nomination. Thank you one and all!”

And thank you, Ray. Congratulations! You truly deserve this recognition for all of your hard work which has helped so many!