Coleraine businessman Raymond Pollock has been awarded an MBE for charitable services in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
One of a number of recipients from the Causeway area, Raymond, owner of Right Price Carpets and Furniture, has been involved with the Children to Lapland charity for around 12 years as North West co-ordinator and the news of the MBE came as a complete surprise to him.
“I have no idea who nominated me but I feel so humbled and all the family are delighted for me,” said Raymond.
“I found out about it a few weeks back but you are sworn to secrecy and have to keep it very, very quiet.
“I feel really, really humbled and very happy. There are so many people involved in this work I feel this is for all of them.
“I believe that although one person receives the award there are so many people involved and helping you out because you just don’t do everything yourself.”
Raymond’s work with the Children to Lapland Trust began thanks to his friendship with the charity’s Chairman. The charity aim to fulfil the dreams of terminally ill, long term ill and deserving children, by taking them to see Santa at his home in Lapland and other destinations
“I’m friends with Jack Rodgers and his wife Lynne and at the time the charity was on the brink of going out of business and Jack and Lynne decided to try and keep it going,” explained Raymond.
“We started working at it and began taking the children to Lapland on an ordinary scheduled flight and now we charter our own plane.
“It is heart breaking to see what these children are going through but it is also very humbling to see the way they deal with things.
“There is no charity in the world which isn’t good and deserving but this charity touched me in a special way. When you look at your children and your grand children it makes you step back and realise how thankful you are that they are fit and healthy.
“I hope by being awarded this MBE that it will help raise the profile of this amazing charity because we depend on donations and the generosity of the public.”