Geoff Parsons, MBE for Wingate Centre service

A grandfather of four is celebrating after receiving the MBE for services to a children’s charity and the Nantwich community.

Geoff Parsons received the honour for his long service to the Wingate Special Children’s Trust, as well as Nantwich Rotary and Guy Harvey Youth Centre.

The 77-year-old became a trustee of Wrenbury-based Wingate Centre in 1998 when it was known as the Special Gymnastics Association.

He took over when it was facing financial crisis after several years running just as a gym club.

Within two months he was chairman and steering its transformation to a respite care and holiday facility under the new name, The Wingate Centre.

The former hospital building now provides life-enriching experiences and recreational activities to more than 700 children each year.

Geoff, a retired sales and marketing director, said: “With the support of my fellow trustees and a wonderfully dedicated team of staff, we have turned the charity from being a gymnastics club for local children with disabilities into what is regarded as one of the top respite holiday centres in the country.

“The conversion has been achieved with no financial Government support but by a team of dedicated colleagues who have raised more than £1.5 million.

“While I’m deeply honoured to receive this award, I have to wholeheartedly acknowledge their invaluable support.

“I hope it will help to raise profile and more funds.

“Our aim is to operate the centre to its full capacity of 1,000 visiting children and carers a year.”

Before retiring, Mr Parsons worked for a major food distribution company supplying Spar and other shops.

He was involved in developing the extended store opening hours programme for small retail outlets under the banners of Eight-till-Late and Latestop.

Liverpool-born and lifelong Everton supporter, the father-of-two moved to Nantwich in 1992 and has also served as a governor at Brine Leas School and chairman of the Guy Harvey Youth Club where he remains a trustee.

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