Honour for Harrogate volunteer

a man and a woman shake hands in front of a picture of The Queen

Jo Ropner, Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire presented Malcolm with the award at her home at Camp Hill

1 May 2019

One of our long standing volunteers in Harrogate has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his services to cycling.

Malcolm Margolis attended the medal presentation on 9 April with his wife Gia, at Camp Hill, the home of the current Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Jo Ropner, who presented him with the award.

He was one of seven award recipients to attend the ceremony, which was followed by afternoon tea and cakes with Jo Ropner, who is herself a keen cycling advocate.

Malcolm has been a volunteer since 2006 and was instrumental in campaigns to develop the Nidderdale Greenway, from Harrogate to Ripley. The popular five-mile traffic-free cycling and walking route runs from North Harrogate, through Bilton,  Ripley and Clint and links to the Way of the Roses.

He worked tirelessly to attract support for the route from local businesses, councils and communities and continues to support us to develop the route a further 22 miles as far as Scar House reservoir, helping raise £17,000 so we could conduct a feasibility study. He is currently campaigning against plans to develop two bypasses which will cut through the Nidderdale Greenway and the wildlife-rich Nidd Gorge.

Malcolm also founded the Harrogate-based cycling group Wheel Easy, with Gia, and he has been a long term campaigner to develop cycle routes on The Stray, a 200-acre park in the centre of Harrogate, where cycling was forbidden.  He is an active member of the Harrogate District Cycle Forum.

Malcolm says: "It was a huge honour to receive the medal along with six other champions of their local communities, and a wonderful ceremony which my wife Gia and I will never forget. A big surprise was to discover that the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Jo Ropner, who presented our medals, cycles around 5,000 miles a year, including tough challenges in the UK, and stages of the Tour de France. Altogether, an impressive lady!”

Mike Babbitt, Head of Network Development for Sustrans for the North of England said: “Malcolm is a fantastic advocate of walking and cycling for Harrogate and his efforts have been invaluable to our work. He helped us and local authority partners to develop routes and garnered support from a wide range of people.

“He is a very positive and tenacious individual who has inspired many people about the value of active travel and he continues to campaign tirelessly. If you visit the Nidderdale Greenway look out for the portrait bench which features Malcolm, as part of our series of artworks along the National Cycle Network celebrating local people.”

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