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In the Queen’s 2016 new year’s honour’s list it was announced that Paddy Hopkirk would receive the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). The MBE is awarded for a significant achievement or outstanding service to the community by those who stand out as as a role model to others. Paddy was awarded the honour for his services to motoring and young people through his involvement with the Skidz charity which helps young people to achieve and develop careers in the motor industry.

Paddy, who was born in Belfast Northern Ireland, in 1933 is well known and respected for his achievements in rallying, including winning the gruelling Monte Carlo Rally in a BMC Works Mini in 1964. Although many believe his achievements should have been honoured years ago, he was presented with his MBE by HRH Princess Royal on 12 July at Windsor Castle.

Paddy told MiniWorld about the special day, including receiving his award from HRH Princess Anne: “You line up and you’re told what to do and you go up one by one. Princess Anne gave everybody a couple of minutes. I’ve met her before because she’s a friend of Jackie Stewart. She thanked me for my work with the children of Skidz and asked me what I’m doing now. I told her that I was an ambassador for the IAM, trying to reduce road accidents and deaths by working as a mature driving ambassador. My wife Jenny and my daughter Katie and my son Patrick came to the ceremony with me. Sadly, my other son could not attend.”

Speaking about his award he said: “It is a great honour and very humbling to be rewarded for work that I have found so satisfying over the years. It is a privilege to have earned a living from racing and rallying, and if people have gained inspiration from this it is a wonderful and satisfying spin off. Since retiring from my motorsports career, I have got a great deal of enjoyment from passing my experience onto the younger generation; I can see how much fun they get from a career working with cars. If I can play even a small part towards giving even one person some inspiration then my work is done!”