MMCC's Riders' Welfare Officer, Wyn Evans, receives MBE
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MMCC's Riders' Welfare Officer, Wyn Evans, receives MBE
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The publication of the Queen's new year's honours list was a relief for Manx Motor Cycle Club welfare office Wyn Evans, because she finally got to tell people the secret she has been keeping for the past two months.

She has been made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) to recognise her behind the scenes work helping riders and their families if they are injured competing in the Isle of Man.

'I had a phone call from the governor telling me. That was at the end of October so I've been having to keep quiet ever since then,' she said.

'I've nearly said something and had to bite my tongue a few times!'

Wyn has been welfare officer for the Southern 100 races since 1985, the Manx Grand Prix since 1994 and the TT since 1997. She also does the same job for the short circuit races run by the local Andreas club.

'But I've been involved for a lot longer than that now,' she said.

In fact she first helped out in the 1970s when a friend at the time lost his life on the course. 'Little did I know then what it would get me into!' she said.

If a rider is injured, she is the person who offers the much-needed practical help as well as, sometimes, a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear.

'At the TT and the MGP I have my own radio so I know as soon as there has been an incident. If it's going to be a hospital case I can do practical things like look up a rider's information to help out the hospital and give them time to get ahead.

'Then I go up to the hospital to check families are okay. Each morning I call the hospital for a condition check. I also visit each day.

'If someone is here on their own I can also arrange to bring families over and sort out practical things like travel and accommodation for them.

Families are often in too much turmoil to do it for themselves.'

If the worst happens and there is a fatality on the course she also supports families by liaising with the coroner's office, the police and the funeral services.

The work can be harrowing but it's not unappreciated.

'People keep in touch. I have cards each year from riders and their families and one who I helped always calls me his second mum!' she said.

'I also have a very good relationship with the hospital staff – though it costs me a bit in mince pies – I baked 110 of them this year!'

Her husband Des was a racer and travelling marshal for many years.

'The work can get you down at times but it helps being married to someone who was involved with the racing,' she said.

'Des was a travelling marshal for 32 years but now he's stopped he helps me and shares the burden.' 'I was a bit astounded by the award, to be honest, but very pleased and very honoured,' she said. 'And it's good for the Isle of Man and for road racing and it shows we do look after our riders.'

As well as her welfare officer duties she works for the ACU benevolent fund which offers support to injured riders and families. She was also one of the organisers of the riders' wall of remembrance in Douglas cemetery on Glencrutchery road opposite the grandstand.

Coincidentally at the time of speaking she had just been cutting roses to put by the wall to commemorate a rider's birthday.

'I have a list of birthdays up on the notice board,' she said.

Paradoxically, all riders are glad she does the job, but (in the nicest possible way) she's the person they least want to meet.

The exact date for the ceremony is not yet set but at some point early in the year there will be an official letter followed by a trip to Buckingham Palace to collect the award.

'I understand they do it in alphabetical order so I don't think it will be too long but we are looking forward to the trip,' she said.

Manx Motor Cycle Club Chairman, Harvey Garton said on hearing the news:

"As organisers of the Manx Grand Prix , we are absolutely delighted that Wyn's service to injured riders and their families has been recognised in such a way.

She is an unsung hero to many and is ell respected throughout the whole motorcycling community for her endless devotion to the welfare of all concerned with motorcycle racing on the Island and further afield."

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(This post was last modified: 04-01-2013, 04:07 PM by Malcolm.)
04-01-2013, 04:05 PM
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