Congratulations to the founder Chairman of the British Gymnastics Charitable Foundation, Ray Phillips who has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to gymnastics and to Helen Phillips who has been awarded an MBE for her services to Welsh Gymnastics.
Ray Phillips was a member of the British Gymnastics Board from 2005 until 2013 as the representative NED for Northern Ireland. During this period, he was the British Gymnastics Deputy President from 2006 to 2012 and the President from 2012 to 2013.
He has been a highly valued member of the Board bringing vast experience both as a volunteer and as a senior officer in the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC. This experience enabled him to work closely with the executive team to bring about the modernisation and integration of Northern Ireland Gymnastics within British Gymnastics. Ray has travelled extensively and worked tirelessly to support gymnastics at all levels.
Ray Phillips: “The award of the BEM for something you do freely and enjoy is very special and humbling. Through our family my wife Lynda and I have been involved in gymnastics particularly in Northern Ireland for most of our married life, I see this award as recognition of not only my service but also that of Lynda, who although having reduced her current involvement continues to support my wider UK commitment”.
One of the youngest ever to lead a National Governing Body, Helen Phillips was appointed Chair of Welsh Gymnastics in 2001 at the age of 29. In 2013, she became the first female Chair of Commonwealth Games Wales and is currently the only female Chair in the Commonwealth Games Federation's European group.
Helen was instrumental in leading both organisations to the most successful ever Commonwealth Games for Wales in Glasgow in 2014. She is now playing a key part in ensuring that Team Wales is fully prepared ahead of the 2018 Games in Gold Coast Australia.
On hearing the news of her MBE award, Helen said: “I am simply overwhelmed by this announcement, it truly does mean so much to my family and I.
"The role of the volunteer is significant in sport and there are so many others that deserve recognition. Without my family’s support - and particularly my mum’s inspiration – I simply wouldn’t have lasted volunteering for the last 25 years in these significant roles. I certainly wouldn’t have survived the last 10 challenging but rewarding years where we have transformed the two organisations!"