A DALESMAN who is a champion for young people wanting to get into business and industry has been awarded an MBE.

David Poole, 80, from Bishopdale, near Wensleydale, has received his honour for services to business, skills, and the community.

After a successful career as managing director of a number of large international electronic companies and latterly managing director and deputy chairman of Thalis PLC, since his retirement he has used this knowledge to help his local community.

Mr Poole has been a driving force in the re-organisation of the Lower Wensleydale Business Network (LWBN), a membership organisation supporting new and existing business.

His efforts have increased its membership to over 70 companies, and the LWBN now works with Wensleydale School and Sixth Form College to try to retain young talent in the community.

He said: "I have helped develop various schemes to help businesses and give people the resources and opportunities to stay in the Dales.

"We want young people to stay so we have developed five schemes to give them career guidance:

"I take companies into schools to speak to students; we have a local apprenticeship scheme with Wensleydale School; we help young people to set up their own business; we have set up a business and innovation centre at the school, where students get a mentor as part of an A-level course; and we are helping businesses to attract business from outside the area, which is still a work in progress."

Mr Poole has taken a lead role in the organisation of high profile events such as the Dales Festival of Food and Drink, the Leyburn 1940s Weekend and the Leyburn Christmas Festival.

He has also created the 200 club, consisting of two separate businesses to be run by the pupils, gathering their ideas and suggestions, setting up meetings during school hours and organising a bank to allow them to have cheque books and accounts.

He is financial director of the Leyburn's Arts and Community Centre, which has been transformed for the benefit of the community and now houses a cinema and is a focal point for local arts exhibitions, leisure and business groups, workshops and classes.

Mr Poole said: "I feel very honoured and was very surprised to have been nominated for the MBE. I am passionate about the community and helping young people to stay in the Dales."