Honour for dedicated hospital fundraiser 'Wally the Wheelbarrow'

Salisbury Journal: Michael Beck, left, with fellow fundraiser David Chalk Michael Beck, left, with fellow fundraiser David Chalk

A DEDICATED supporter of Salisbury District Hospital who has spent a decade raising more than £175,000 for the Stars Appeal has been recognised for his efforts in the New Year Honours List.

Michael Beck, 80, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for charitable services to fundraising in Salisbury. Mr Beck started fundraising for the Stars Appeal with his trusty wheelbarrow Wally ten years ago after undergoing treatment there for prostate and blood cancer.

He has become a familiar figure around Salisbury during regular collections at local shops and pubs, the livestock market and the hospital, in addition to going along to support annual events such as the Tidworth 10k and Walk for Wards.

“I was quite surprised,” he said. “I think my granddaughters are more proud than I am. There are a lot of people that do a lot more than me who don’t get recognised.”

Mr Beck, who wants to continue raising money until he gets to £250,000, said he gets “great satisfaction” from helping others.

He was particularly pleased to have a room at the hospital’s children’s ward named The Wheelbarrow Room in his honour. Mr Beck is also treasurer of the Wessex Stoma Support Group and has raised about £10,000 for Guide Dogs.

He still takes Wally out three times a week, and for the last six years he has been supported by friends and volunteers, including Ken Edwards and Rina Musselwhite.

Luke March, chairman of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Michael is, without exception, a remarkable person, instantly recognisable to so many people across Salisbury and south Wiltshire with his trusty Wally the Wheelbarrow.

“His cheerfulness, dedication and loyalty is an inspiration to us all and he richly deserves the recognition that he now receives through this wonderful honour.”

• Also recognised in this year’s list is Professor Van Gore, vice chancellor at Southampton Solent University, has been awarded a CBE for services to higher education.

Prof Gore, who lives in Salisbury, joined Southampton Institute in 2001 as vice principal academic and was appointed senior vice principal in September 2003.

He became deputy vice chancellor in July 2005 when Southampton Institute became Southampton Solent University and has been vice chancellor since 2007.

Prof Gore chairs the Solent Skills Development Zone, which he helped create, and is also the higher education member of Southampton Connect, a group of leaders of key public, private and voluntary organisations, working collaboratively to further the growth and success of Southampton.

He chaired the Hampshire and Isle of Wight lifelong learning network from 2006-10 and was chairman of the Higher Education European Funding Service (HEEFS) from 2009-11.

He is also currently a director of Laser Learning Awards.

• And Florence Devine, a verger at Larkhill Garrison, has been awarded the British Empire Medal, for pastoral services to armed forces personnel.

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