UTV’s Paul Clark has been honoured by the Queen for his voluntary service to the community in Northern Ireland.
The hard-working presenter – who is the president of the NI Hospice, a Unicef goodwill ambassador, and associated with several police charities – was presented with his MBE at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
Speaking to the News Letter afterwards, the proud recipient said the support of wife Carol had “created the space” for him to devote time to his 40 years of charity work.
“I am also grateful to UTV for providing me with a profile and platform to support the voluntary sector here,” he said.
Commenting on his trip to London, he said: “The lovely thing about this is that I’ve been able to bring my mother and father with me.
“I am very lucky as my father is 86, my mother is 83 and they’re both very healthy and able to travel.
“I felt it was important that they should come and share the honour because they instilled in me the values in my childhood that I brought into my adult life, and that was very important.
“The MBE belongs to my mum and dad as much as it does to me.”
Although the father-of-two was in the presence of superstars, such as the newly knighted Olympic cycling champion Sir Bradley Wiggins, he said meeting Her Majesty was a special moment.
“It’s not a day you would forget and it was wonderful that it was the Queen herself.
“I felt deeply honoured, and I felt good for my mother and father that it was the Queen that was doing it.
“You are conscious that you are in the presence of someone who is very special and she was asking me about the work I was doing at the hospice, where I am president, and I also mentioned to her that I was the goodwill ambassador for Unicef in Northern Ireland, which I believe contributed to the honour.”
Paul added: “Northern Ireland society has been very good to me. It has given me a great job and a great living over 40 years now and I have always felt it was important to give something back to society, because this society has been so good to me.
“We have a few days in London with mum and dad and then we’re going to Oxford for a few days.
“I’m very fond of Oxford so Carol and I are going to have a walk around and look at the dreaming spires.”
UTV managing director Michael Wilson said: “This is a tremendous accolade and fitting recognition of the work Paul has done with local community groups here for many years.
“He is a high profile figure within media and charity circles and I know I speak for many, many people when I say how delighted we are that he has been given this award.”