The long-serving president of Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team, Mr Bob Uttley, has received his MBE medal from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Mr Uttley, of Todmorden, received his award for services to the community in Calder Valley and Todmorden, and he and his wife Hannelore went to London on November 10 with daughter Andrea and oldest grandchild Evie.
“The experience was terrific. The ceremony was held in the ballroom which is a magnificent piece of architecture,” he said.
“We talked about the Calder Valley and how it had suffered badly with floods and the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team being very involved. She said ‘it sounds like dangerous work’.”
Bob was in a group of about 70 people receiving decorations, including the last of the British Dambusters, Squadron Leader George Leonard “Johnny” Johnson.
Recipients were separated from their guests on arriving, guests heading for the ballroom while recipients are informed of the event’s procedure in an adjacent room magnificently furnished with paintings by the old masters. They are then called in smaller groups of four or five for the presentations.
The Queen was very good at putting people at their ease on a marvellous occasion, said Bob.
“I have never spoken to the Queen before. She is very relaxing to speak to. I felt very proud,” he said.
Bob, a retired chartered accountant and financial director, has been a stalwart supporter for the local community for many years with strong connections to various organisations including Todmorden Choral Society, St Mary’s Church Choir and walking groups and is a keen Walsden and Todmorden cricket follower. He was also captain at Todmorden Golf club in 1973, club president in the early 1990s and ground officer 1974-1987.
Bob’s connection with Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team was borne out of tragedy when his son Robert was sadly killed whilst climbing Annapurna III in the Himalayas during a whiteout in 1983. Robert had been a member of CVSRT for a number of years.
In 1994, Bob was made honorary president and during his tenure has been instrumental in fundraising £100,000 to help build the team’s current base, The Rescue Post in Mytholmroyd.