A MAN who has played a major part in the Special Olympics for over 30 years has been named on the Queen's honours list.

Keith Wilcox, from Guisborough, has made an immeasurable impact on thousands of people with learning difficulties since 1982 through the Special Olympics (SO) programme, ensuring that SO athletes are provided with opportunities to be recognised in their communities.

As Chair of the SO Northern region, Mr Wilcox has served on every national membership committee, and chaired both the English National Council and the National Advisory Council for several terms.

The 67-year-old has also served as Assistant Head of Delegation for GB Teams at European and World Games and led a team of nearly 200 athletes and coaches as Head of Delegation at the 2007 World Summer Games in Shanghai.

Mr Wilcox is up for an MBE for his voluntary services and outstanding contribution to the SO and to sport.

He said: “It all started with being a sporting person myself. I got involved with almost every sport you could think of.

“When I came into the world of work I started in a day centre for learning disabilities and I saw the opportunity for what sport could do for people.

“I thought it would help them to gain confidence and boost their self esteem by getting them involved with sporting activities."

The honour is not the first acknowledgement for Mr Wilcox, in 2012 he was chosen as an Olympic torchbearer.

In 2008, he received a SO Great Britain outstanding contribution award, presented to him during a reception at 10 Downing Street.

In 2009, he won the npower ‘service to sport’ award and the Northern Echo award for ‘leading light’.

And in 2010 he won the ‘Torch trophy trust’, an award for which he was nominated by the England Football Association and English Federation for Disability Sport.

“It gives me a lot of pleasure working with these groups of people and seeing them grow," Mr Wilcox added,

“Seeing them get into a sports programme and change their lives, and seeing their family members and friends get involved with them."

Serving for 20 years as Chair of the Great Ayton Football and Cricket Club, Mr Wilcox helps with all aspects of the club, from cutting grass and marking lines to preparing the pitch for irrigation channels.

Mr Wilcox will receive his MBE at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace with his wife, Heather, his daughter Sally, 37, who volunteers with the SO, her partner and his grandchild.

He added: "I couldn't have done it without the support I have had. I've had immense support from my family members which has allowed me to keep doing what I have been doing.

“It’s quite nice to be able to get my honour and have someone say thank you for what you've done."