Ripon’s philanthropy has been recognised with a royal invitation from the Queen.
The founder of Ripon’s Bread of Life food bank, Alec Lutton, has been invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace with his wife Sandra - an honour he has accepted on behalf of everyone who has supported the project over the years.
Alec is also well-known for being the president of a group which installs defibrillators across Ripon. He said attending the garden party in June will be a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of all that Ripon residents do to help save lives.
He said: “The invitation is a huge honour - an honour for me, but more importantly I have the honour of doing it for Ripon, for all those who have supported the food bank and the defibrillator group.
“With the defibrillators, I would especially like to thank Ripon Lions - without their huge support we wouldn’t be able to do it. I believe in teamwork. Together, everyone achieves more. I am not in it for what I can do, but for what we can do together.”
When Alec first heard the news that he was going to be invited to Buckingham Palace, it all seemed completely surreal at first.
He said: “It’s not something you would think is going to happen. At first I thought it was actually a joke when they phoned, I thought someone was having me on. I thought, I’ll believe it when I see it, then all the paperwork came through the post. This isn’t just for me, it’s for all of us.”
Established in 2011, the food bank has already made an enormous impact in the community.
Alec said: “Our policy is we say that we don’t turn anyone away, everyone is entitled to help. It’s been a lifeline for quite a lot of people.”
With an ever-growing number of defibrillators being installed in Ripon, Alec is passionate about ensuring that new housing developments and all supermarkets have them in place.
Last year, The Old Deanery organised and hosted the very first Ripon awards, which recognises the city’s unsung heroes and celebrates the business community. Alec was presented with the Riponian of the Year award.