A CO-founder of the Burley-in-Wharfedale Christmas Market has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Roger Charnley, 82, of Long Meadows, Burley-in-Wharfedale, has been recognised for his voluntary service to business and the community, after setting up the Burley and District Chamber of Trade (BADCOT) and running the festive event until he was 80.

Mr Charnley helped to form BADCOT in 2002 to negotiate compensation for shop owners losing trade during major works. The Christmas market was launched the following year to run alongside the village Christmas Lights Switch-on and has become a highlight of the community calendar.

The octogenarian has also been the driving force behind the growth of BADCOT to support businesses, community groups and the village environment through initiatives such as the Buy Local Shop Local campaign and Scarecrow Trail at the first Burley Summer Festival.

Bradford-born Mr Charnley, former general secretary to a wool industry trade body and chief executive of the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has also been commended for his role as treasurer of the Burley Theatre Group for the last 10 years. He has managed the amateur dramatic group’s accounts, promoted its productions and brought in significant extra income through ticket sales, advertising and sponsorships.

And as a member of the local Probus Club and the Bingley and Airedale Rotary Club, Mr Charnley has organised many successful fundraising events, from concerts to auctions, for charities such as the Royal British Legion and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

The grandfather of four has been described by those writing in support of the Queen’s Honour as a “stalwart in the community”.

Angela Pickard, owner of Hillcrest Bed and Breakfast in the village, added that Mr Charnley was “a real gentleman, with great enthusiasm and sense of humour” who had “inspired and encouraged” her.

Burley-in-Wharfedale Parish Councillor Niccola Swan said: “He has been involved in a voluntary capacity in a great many initiatives which bring and keep our community together. For many years, he has worked tirelessly and with exceptionally long hours on key projects which are acknowledged to have made Burley really special.”

Pam Leach, former chairwoman of Burley Theatre Group, said Mr Charnley’s “unfailing” support had “made the difference between the production running at a loss or making a modest profit to put towards the next production.”

MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, said “Roger epitomises community spirit,” and Dale Smith, councillor and former Lord Mayor of Bradford praised his “prodigious” fundraising.

Martin Priest, honorary secretary of Burley and District Probus Club, said: “I cannot think of anybody more deserving of an honour than Roger Charnley and shall be so happy and delighted, along with many other people, when this honour is awarded.”

Mr Charnley, married to Judith, said: “When I read the letter I thought they were talking about someone else. It came totally out of the blue and is a terrific honour.

“Anything I’ve achieved has been done with the help of other community-minded people and has been an absolute pleasure. My hope now is for young people to get involved in the many wonderful community activities there are on offer, because I have certainly got out as much as I’ve put in.

He added: “My wife and I are as pleased as punch and can’t wait for the Royal Garden Party.”