BEM for Good Morning Larne's Matthew

Matt Ritchie is pictured with his daughters Lois, Melissa and Lucinda at an awards lunch in the Curran Court Hotel in recognition of his dedication and commitment to the Good Morning Larne project. INLT 24-003-PSB
Matt Ritchie is pictured with his daughters Lois, Melissa and Lucinda at an awards lunch in the Curran Court Hotel in recognition of his dedication and commitment to the Good Morning Larne project. INLT 24-003-PSB

A Larne man's contribution to his community has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Matthew Ritchie, from the Craigyhill area, received the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to older people.

Matt Ritchie (2nd left) is pictured with his brother John (left) Liam Kelly and Barbara Gilchrist from Good Morning Larne. INLT 24-004-PSB

Matt Ritchie (2nd left) is pictured with his brother John (left) Liam Kelly and Barbara Gilchrist from Good Morning Larne. INLT 24-004-PSB


Mr Ritchie was instrumental in the founding of Good Morning Larne, the telephone befriending charity for older and vulnerable people.


The local man began by recruiting volunteers and taking referrals for new clients to the service following his retirement in 2006.


Speaking of his delight at the honour, Mr Ritchie said: “It was real shock when I got the letter, I thought someone was winding me up! But I’m very pleased.


“It’s nice to know all the volunteers at Good Morning Larne are being recognised as well - anything that gives the service a boost.”


Good Morning Larne provides over 12,000 befriending calls each year, in addition to home and hospital visits and hosting social activities.


“It’s been something that has kept me active and filled a void after I retired,” added Mr Ritchie, 76.


A spokesperson for Good Morning Larne added: “Matt has been a long-standing, supportive and loyal friend to the hundreds of older people that have been supported over the last 12 years. He has always advocated the importance of older people staying socially connected.

"He continues to be an excellent role model to all senior citizens."