Four people from Milton Keynes awarded MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Chair of Trustees Rachel Medill at the Ride High Charity Ball PNL-160615-121137001
Chair of Trustees Rachel Medill at the Ride High Charity Ball PNL-160615-121137001

The founder of a charity which supports disadvantaged youngsters is one of four people honoured with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Rachel Medill, of Aspley Guise, swapped a lucrative career in the city to set up Milton Keynes-based charity Ride High after witnessing young people struggling in poverty in the town.

Rachel is also the chief operating officer at the charity, sponsored by the MK Citizen, which she launched with a £1,500 grant from the Milton Keynes Community Foundation.

She receives her award for services to young people.

Students are given a caring environment where they can grow and develop life skills at Ride High.

The impact of the programme is transformative; students thrive on the outdoor work and physical activity, gaining a sense of achievement and growth in confidence.

The initial Community Foundation grant allowed Rachel to buy equipment and build partnerships with a local riding school, commissioning them to provide lessons and supply the horses.

Now, 80 young people are supported by Ride High every week, and more than 500 benefited since the Great Brickhill-based charity was launched. Children aged between eight and 17 whose needs are a challenge to both state and society are supported.

Tireless charity workers Julia Upton and Anouar Kassim were also awarded MBEs in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Julia retires this year as chief executive of the Milton Keynes Community Foundation, which last year put £1.8 million back into the community. She is also a member of MK Business Council, MK Business Leaders and a trustee of the YMCA.

Anouar Kassim was awarded his MBE for his work to improve cross-cultural understanding and appreciation across Milton Keynes.

He is founder and director of the MK Islamic Arts and Heritage Association which strives to better interfaith relations. The association works in schools, colleges, universities and prisons to deliver arts workshops, exhibitions and education services.

Both Julia and Anouar are involved with Milton Keynes College. The fourth MBE recipient, Fola Komolafe is the current chairman of governors at the college.

Fola founded Fresh inspiration, a charity which focuses on empowering people through education and enterprise in developing countries.

A partner at Mazars accountants, she is also a director of Milton Keynes Christian Centre, a board member of the Community Foundation and chairman of Into the community, the charity that oversees the city’s food bank.

MK College principal Dr Julie Mills, said: “It speaks volumes that Fola, Anouar and Julia are all connected to the college on a voluntary basis. All three awards are fantastic achievements and we are extremely proud.”