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Two volunteer fundraisers receive Honours from the Queen

06 Feb 2014

Sue Ratcliffe with a guide dog

Sue Ratcliffe (Harlow) and Michael Clarke (Bury St Edmonds) have both received British Empire Medals as part of her Majesty the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

Sue, 46, has been commended for her tireless fundraising for Guide Dogs in honour of her late husband. Sue lost her husband Gary in 2004 after he was involved in a collision with a motor vehicle whilst out riding his bike. 

Michael, 75, was honoured for services to people with visual impairment after spending 33 years as Chairman for the Bury St Edmunds branch of Guide Dogs. Michael started his volunteering with Guide Dogs in 1981 after the death of his wife who had been visually impaired. He set up a trust fund which raised enough money to help train eight life-changing guide dog puppies before becoming the founder and Chair of the local branch, which over the 33 years has raised an enormous £600,000. Gary had raised £4,500 for Guide Dogs before he died and to honour his life Sue continued to fundraise. Nine years on and Sue has raised over £125,000 for Guide Dogs, naming over 24 life-changing guide dog puppies.

Richard Leaman, Chief Executive at Guide Dogs said: "Sue and Michael are truly extraordinary individuals and it’s hard to put into words how much good all of their hard work has done and will continue to do. One guide dog costs £50,000 in its lifetime and we receive no government funding for this service. Without people like Sue and Michael the life changing services Guide Dogs provide wouldn’t be possible, they are the grass roots of where it all begins."

Find out more about fundraising for Guide Dogs.