AN Inverurie man who has helped raise millions of pounds for charity has been honoured with an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List.
George Walker of Hillside, Keith Hall, has been instrumental in organising charity events across the north-east, including the Emmerdale Extravaganza and a concert for the Queen’s 80th birthday, raising money for a range of good causes in the process.
Speaking to the Herald, he said that the honour was a big surprise.
“I’m shocked and surprised and, to be honest, I thought someone was playing a joke on me,” he said. “It really is a family honour though - without Jen’s support, my hare-brained schemes wouldn’t work.”
George began his charity career after donating the proceeds from his children’s book ‘Boris the Clydesdale’ to the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust. A career in professional show-jumper led to one working as an area appeals manager for Anthony Nolan, before George and Jenny set up their own event management business, maintaining close links to charities in the north-east.
“We give charities free advice on organising events, and we have a lot of things in the pipeline,” he said. “The cast of Emmerdale will be joining us again for the Grampian Country Fair at Fyvie Castle on June 11, with the proceeds going towards a new Maggies cancer centre in Aberdeen. We’re also going to be supporting Horsebac UK, who help disabled soldiers experience Western riding. On a personal level, we want to do something for Childrens’ Hospice Association, and I’ll be doing something on my 50th birthday for my favourite charities, though I’m not sure what yet.”
In his time working as an event organiser, George says that he retains fond memories of some of the youngsters he worked with.
“I’ll be dedicating my award to two youngsters in particular - Gary Hind and Millie Forbes - who we lost in 2005 and 2004,” he said.
George added that he hasn’t received the medal yet, but that he is looking forward to the presentation which will happen sometime between now and May.
“I would like to thank the businesses of Inverurie for their support over the years - without folk like of Stevie Innes at I & K Motors, none of what we’ve done would have been possible.”