Seventy year-old Ardmore woman Valerie Crichton has been given a British Empire Medal in recognition of her 25 years service in helping in organisation of motorcycle racing across Northern Ireland.
“Believe it or not I have not read the official letter yet, I am so excited,” she said.
In her many years of service she has monitored dangerous corners, coordinated 75 radio marshals, driven child protection policy and still finds time to make public announcements via tannoy.
“This is really recognition not just for me but also for my husband, other family members and all the volunteers who it possible.”
The motorcycling bug first bit her at age 16 when her husband John, now 72, invited her to watch him racing his scrambler in Enniskillen. Unfortunately, on that occasion the former Irish scrambling champion broke his femur on that occasion.
“I always liked the noise and the smell of the oil.”
Her involvement in organisation began when she was asked to monitor all untoward incidents with racers reaching 200mph at University Corner on the NW 200: “That was 30 years go.”
Then the course clerk the couple to set up a control radio communications centre. The couple cover the annual races at Dundrod, Armoy, Tandragee, Cookstown and Enniskillen.
“I also do the tannoys. People say I do all the announcements well, but I don’t have a swanky tongue.”