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Meeting a community hero from Cranleigh

PUBLISHED: 15:46 19 September 2016 | UPDATED: 16:18 19 September 2016

Colin presents prize to a young winner at last year's Cranleigh Agricultural Show (Photo Pete Gardner)

Colin presents prize to a young winner at last year's Cranleigh Agricultural Show (Photo Pete Gardner)

Pete Gardner Photography

Each month, Surrey-based author Miriam Wakerly celebrates our villages’ unsung heroes. This time, she heads to Cranleigh, where she discovers a special man who supports the community in an impressive variety of ways

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2016

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In this month’s missive, I am pushing the boundaries! Firstly, Cranleigh is reputedly the largest village in England – hardly a ‘small village’. Secondly, Colin Young, by virtue of his well-deserved MBE, awarded in 2000, is not an unsung hero. Lastly, this true pillar of the community extends his reach beyond his immediate locality.

Indeed, while not one to sing his own praises, this is a man who modestly, and altruistically, gives his energy, experience and financial support across the whole of Cranleigh, with special focus on services to the young.

Wheels in motion

Coming from a business background, Colin and his charming wife, Pauline, set up the logistics management company Cranleigh Freight Services around 40 years ago, and although so-called ‘retired’ he is still chairman, while she still has an active hand there, too, and their son is now running the business.

As a self-made man, Colin’s life experience means he is well suited to mentoring. So, for the last 20 years, he has been helping out in this way at schools in Cranleigh (Glebelands), Godalming (Broadwater), Guildford (Bishop Reindorp), Portsmouth (Springfield) and Oxted Secondary School, something he continues to do today. For many years, he was also a director and chair of governors at Grafham Grange School in Bramley.

In the past, he has supported The Cranleigh Youth Band in various ways, too, funding and organising trips to Holland, footing the bill for hotels, vehicles and other events.

Youth sporting activity he sees as vital and so he has supplied kit, funding and encouragement to Cranleigh Basketball Club, the Under-14s Rugby Club and Under-15s Football Club. He has also assisted in organising four-day rugby trips to France and Holland. Wow!

As his business is logistics, help is often in the form of vehicles. One special case was providing transport for a 15-year-old leukaemia victim who touched his heart, as well as a holiday for the young patient and his family. In addition, Colin’s uplifting words helped him soldier through a difficult time and that teenager is now 31 years old and going strong!

Show on the road

In addition, he has supplied vehicles in the past to assist traditional village activities such as the annual bonfire and carnival, and for many years was president of the local St John’s Ambulance and The Motor Neurone Society helping with the maintenance of two ambulances. He was also a member of the committee that arranged a special proms in support of Macmillan Nurses, providing transport and admin amongst other things.

But his involvement in the local community goes beyond youth and vehicles, and is seemingly endless in its scope. For instance, he has also been the president of Cranleigh Show for the past six years.

Unsurprisingly, Colin Young MBE also received the High Sheriff award for services to the community, presented by Sir Richard Stilgoe, the then High Sheriff of Surrey. Yes, his achievements and services have been acknowledged, but still you may not have heard of him. Well, you have now!

• Miriam Wakerly’s novels are set in the fictitious Surrey/Hampshire village of Appley Green. Read Miriam’s Ramblings at miriamwakerly.blogspot.co.uk and follow her on Twitter at @MiriamWakerly

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