Founder of Jennyruth Workshops dedicates MBE to everyone involved in the charity

Sue and Barrie Evason with their MBEs.
Sue and Barrie Evason with their MBEs.

A founder of Ripon charity Jennyruth Workshops has been awarded an MBE for services to people with learning disabilities in Yorkshire.

Sue Evason and husband Barrie set up the project to help adults with learning disabilities gain invaluable work and life skills through making and selling handcrafted products.

Speaking to the Gazette after her special day at Buckingham Palace on April 25, Sue very touchingly dedicated her MBE, which was presented by Princess Anne, to everyone at Jennyruth Workshops - just as Barrie did when he was awarded his MBE in December last year.

Sue said: “This is for everyone at Jennyruth Workshops. The way it has just grown from strength to strength is amazing - it is way more than we could have ever envisaged when we started.

“It felt unreal being there, it felt as if it wasn’t quite me being presented with it. It was like I was in some kind of play and I wasn’t quite sure of my part.”

Aware of how MBEs can help to raise the profile of local charities, Sue is keen to use the recognition as a chance to highlight not only the difference that Jennyruth Workshops makes, but also the great contribution that adults with learning disabilities make to the community in Ripon.

Sue said: “I am very proud and very pleased that adults with learning disabilities have been shown as capable of achieving and living worthwhile lives, contributing to the general good.

“We are very pleased that the workshop is increasing its profile every year.

“People are asking the workshops to make things and do things in the community more and more.

“It’s important to emphasise that they have so much to give and offer, they are ordinary people doing great things. Ripon’s a great place, people are really friendly and supportive of the workshops.

“The fact the workshops have grown so much is just so heartwarming to see. The joy and the friendliness of people going there just fills you.

“You can’t work in there without feeling a sense of it being such a happy and joyful place to be.

“Everybody just enjoys being there so much. It was very special to me to have all of the family there on the day when I was presented with the MBE, it meant absolutely everything.”