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Ripon charity worker's bolt out of the blue

Ripon charity worker's bolt out of the blue

Published at 4:50pm 4th January 2017. (Updated at 10:40am 5th January 2017)

A charity worker from Ripon says being named in the Queen's New Year Honours list was "a total shock".

Sylvia Evason, who is known as Sue, has been awarded an MBE for services to people with learning disabilities.

She helped her husband, Barrie, to set up Jennyruth Workshops, which is a registered charity and social enterprise.

It all started in a couple of garden sheds, when they wanted their son, Jonathan, to have somewhere to work after leaving school.

Barrie and Jonathan, who was born with Down's Syndrome, started making things from wood and then sold them at craft fairs.

Jennyruth Workshops eventually opened at Bridge Hewick in 2004 and provides a family-centred environment for disabled adults to gain work and life skills, as well as giving them a sense of pride from making and selling a wide range of everyday products.

Any profit made from sales goes back into funding the charity.

In 2013, it was awarded the highest level of The Duke of York's Community Initiative Award for service to the local community.

In 2014, with support from the Foreign Office, the charity assisted a social enterprise in Macedonia, hosted a visit from members of the Macedonian staff to learn how to develop their own facilities and supported them with the donation of equipment.

Last year, Barrie received an MBE himself for services to people with learning disabilities.

Speaking about her award, Sue said: "I'm not one for setting up and doing something on my own, I wouldn't know where to begin, but he did and I was happy backing him. I never expected any recognition myself, so it came as a total shock."

Barrie added: "What I think is very important is that all those people that helped us, that they understand that this is an award for Jennyruth Workshops and the people who started it."

More information about the charity at www.jennyruth.co.uk