New Year Honours: OBE for ex-Cheltenham Racecourse boss

Edward Gillespie Image copyright PA
Image caption Edward Gillespie said he was "surprised, honoured, privileged" to be appointed OBE

The former director of Cheltenham Racecourse has been appointed OBE in the New Year's Honours list.

Edward Gillespie spent 32 years at the helm and was credited with developing the National Hunt Festival into one of Britain's greatest sporting occasions.

He was given the honour for his services to horse racing in the town.

Mr Gillespie said he was "surprised, honoured, privileged" and hoped it reflected the "friendliness, warmth and uniqueness" of Cheltenham.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cheltenham Racecourse is home of the annual National Hunt Festival and Gold Cup race

He started in the role in 1980, at the age of 27, and announced he was stepping down as managing director shortly after the 2012 Festival which attracted almost a quarter of a million spectators over the four days.

"The place has grown and yet its essence and its DNA has remained the same. The Festival particularly has got longer, larger, deeper, wider and is more accessible to all sorts of different people," he said.

"I don't know a sporting event quite like it. I'm thrilled to have been a part of that and to help get it to where it is today."

A total of 13 people in Gloucestershire have been recognised in the New Year's Honours list, including Sarah Staniforth, from Cheltenham, who becomes a CBE for her services to national heritage.

Other people appointed OBE are Lynn Greenwold for services to special educational needs, Gwen Parry-Jones for services to science and technology and Margaret Willcox for services to vulnerable people in the South West.

Shirt maker Emma Willis, from Cirencester, is appointed MBE for her services to entrepreneurship.

Image copyright David & Julia Job
Image caption David and Julia Job are awarded British Empire Medals for services to Down Ampney village

Among those receiving British Empire Medals are married couple David and Julia Job who moved to the Cotswold village of Down Ampney 26 years ago.

They have jointly been honoured for working tirelessly to help make the village a place in which people want to live.

Mrs Job said: "We were both flabbergasted - quite weak at the knees when we read the letter.

"We feel this honour is for the whole village not for us, because everything we've done in the village has always had the support of lots of villagers."

Terence Parker has also received a medal for services to disability tennis, as has Robert Coles for his work with the county's fire and rescue service, Anthony Perry for services to the environment and flood risk management, Doreen Gibbings for services to the community in Shipton Moyne and similarly for Joyce Vizard in Tytherington.

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