Birthday honours: Disaster rescue leader appointed MBE

Ray Gray
Image caption Ray Gray has been a member of the International Rescue Committee since the late 1980s

A man who has led rescue missions in the aftermath of major disasters around the world has been appointed MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Ray Gray has helped in countries hit by earthquakes, flooding, mudslides, hurricanes and war for four decades.

Missions have included rescues in the Rwandan civil war during the early '90s and in the Kashmir region of Pakistan in 2005 after a devastating earthquake.

The 63-year-old, from Beverley in East Yorkshire, said he was humbled.

Mr Gray joined aid organisation the International Rescue Corps (IRC) in 1988 and continues to be a part of its missions around the globe.

He said: "When I was a kid I used to see the National Geographic films in school about earthquakes, mudslides, hurricanes and volcanoes.

"They fascinated me, and the IRC has given me the opportunity to travel the world and help to be a solution to these - it still fascinates me and I can't believe how lucky I am to experience that."

Image caption Mr Gray's rescue operations have taken him around the globe, including missions in Nicaragua and Mozambique

Mr Gray has delivered emergency supplies, tunnelled under collapsed buildings and rescued stranded civilians displaced by war or natural disaster.

Closer to home, in 2009 he led a team which rescued more than 60 people during the Cockermouth floods in Cumbria.

"Everthing I do there's somebody standing next to me, I never go in a building alone, it's a massive team effort," he said.

"If anything this has to be for the team, not just me."

Another Beverley resident appointed MBE is 53-year-old Helen Rawdon for services to fostering.

Mrs Rawdon has cared for more than 150 children and young people during her 29 years as a foster parent.

Alongside her role, she voluntarily gives her time assisting East Riding of Yorkshire Council to train and support prospective and inexperienced foster carers.

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