ONE of the biggest influences on the sport of bobsleigh, 80-year-old Bruce Ropner, has been awarded the OBE.

Mr Ropner, from Camp Hill, Bedale, North Yorkshire, has been involved in the sport for the past 54 years.

He was brakeman for Great Britain in the 1960 World Championships and has spent much of the last five decades encouraging young people to take up the sport.

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He has also helped build one of only four dry bobsleigh tracks in the UK at Camp Hill and works with the teams and Olympians who train there.

Mr Ropner said: "I was absolutely thrilled to get the OBE, it is a real honour.

"We have worked so hard to encourage young people into the sport, it is difficult to be very good at, but it is a great sport.

“It has changed dramatically from when I was first involved, it is not as dangerous as it was, people did get killed, now it’s very different, but I would really recommend young people to try it out.”

He was presented with his OBE by His royal Highness, the Prince of Wales.

Helen Grant, Minister for Sport, who was also at the ceremony said: “Congratulations on receiving an OBE, it is an acknowledgement of the unstinting contribution you have made to the sport of bobsleigh; from a young athlete in the 50s before embarking on five decades of dedicated support to the National Governing Body.”