Former Featherstone mayor gets Queen's British Empire Medal honour for community and charity work

He is the first point of call for those needing a helping hand in Featherstone.

Friday, 16th June 2017, 11:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 3:19 pm
Bill Mulroe with his wife Lesley when he was elected as Featherstone mayor.

And after more than 25 years of voluntary work, William Mulroe has been awarded a British Empire Medal in recognition of his dedication to the town.

Mr Mulroe, known as Bill, was named as one of 11 Yorkshire recipients of the medal in the 100th Queen’s Birthday Honours list, for his services to charity and community.

The 74-year-old said: “It is nice that somebody has appreciated what I have done over the last 25 years or more. It is great to have it and it is incredibly humbling that somebody, or several people, have gone to the effort of trying to get you some recognition for what you do.”

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Mr Mulroe first got involved in charity work, more than 25 years ago.

His first position saw him raising funds to provide getaway breaks for struggling families who had children with Cystic Fibrosis.

In 1992, he lost his son Shaun, who was serving in the army as a member of the Royal Dragoon Guards.

Shaun, who was 25 at the time, had been attached to the Royal Highland Fusiliers and sent to Belize in central America when tragedy struck.

He and three of his colleagues were killed in a monsoon as they made their way between camps just a week before Christmas.

Shaun’s death prompted Mr Mulroe, his wife Lesley and their daughters Gillian and Joanne, to raise funds for servicemen.

Mr Mulroe said: “We threw ourselves into raising money for various forces charities to help those who were serving and those who had returned home and needed support after what they had experienced.”

Mr Mulroe, who is now retired but formerly worked as a manager of four coach holiday companies, has so far helped to raise more than £7,000 for the Army Benevolent Fund and a further £7,000 for Help for Heroes.

Other causes he has supported include the Prince of Wales Hospice and Featherstone Lions Amateur Rugby League Club.

And he is now vice chairman of the trust of Pontefract-based Dr Jackson Cancer Fund and helps to transport patients between Dewsbury, pontefract and Wakefield hospitals.

“Charity work is fantastically rewarding and people who are not doing it, probably don’t realise quite how rewarding it actually is,” he said.

“It is my chance in life to pay back for some of the good times I have had.

“I just think really, if you retried and able to do things, why sit in that chair waiting for the inevitable when you can do somebody some good and enjoy it at the same time.”

Mr Mulroe has also thrown himself into various community organisations in the town.

He has been secretary at Featherstone Working Men’s Club, chairman of the Featherstone Labour Party, Chairman of the Hemsworth Constituency Labour Party and worked with WDH on Featherstone and Normanton neighbourhood planning.

He was elected to Featherstone Town Council in 2007 and was Mayor in 2011-12 and has also been vice-chairman and school governor at North Featherstone Junior and Infant school for 10 years.

He said: “Even to this day, anybody who needs a hand with anything going on in Featherstone knocks on my door or gives me a call and if I can’t help them, at least I have got lots of information and can point them in the right direction.

“It’s great to be so involved in the local community.”