THE honorary treasurer of the Friends of the Mulberry Centre in Chester was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Eighty-year-old Ray Cumin says that, for half an hour after opening a letter from Buckingham Palace, he just kept looking at the document in amazement.
“It came as a complete bolt out of the blue but not to my fellow members of Friends of the Mulberry Centre who had put my name forward,” said Ray, whose son Anthony attends the county council day centre for adults with learning disabilities.
“I feel very honoured and see this as an award for all the fundraising carried out by the Friends of the Mulberry Centre, of which I am proud to be a member.”
Ray has been connected with the Sealand Road centre since it opened in 1985 and previously was the treasurer of Dee Banks Adult Training Centre.
He describes everyone connected with the Mulberry as “family”.
“There is no other word for it,” said the retired electrical contracting engineer whose work took him across the country, including Sellafield and North Sea oil rigs.
“I spend a lot of time at the Mulberry Centre and have got to know everyone really well so that they are family.”
Ray’s wife, Isobel, who died in February, was secretary to the Friends.
He has been closely connected with fundraising ventures, especially since his retirement in 1993.
“Our first venture was raising money to buy a new minibus,” said Ray. “We now have a fleet of three and two have tailgates for wheelchair users. We pay for fuel for the vehicles and their insurance.
“Funds were raised to transform part of the Mulberry building into a 150-seater theatre which can also be used as a cinema.
“We have a computer suite, beautiful sensory garden and vegetable garden.”
About £400,000 has been raised by the Friends – most within the past 15 years.