INSPIRATIONAL runner Ray Matthews continues to make strides towards a knighthood after being given a national honour.
Ray, whom the Advertiser believes should be knighted after completing 75 marathons in 75 days to celebrate his 75th birthday, has been given a British Citizen Award for services to the community.
The awards are given to those “who work tirelessly or selflessly to make a positive impact”.
Ray, of Maltby, said: “I feel so privileged and honoured. It is incredible to receive recognition for something I enjoy doing and want to do.
“It’s so humbling to think that people want to recognise me for what I did.”
Grandad-of-three Ray was nominated by David Greenfield, former manager of the gym where he trained for the gruelling challenge.
Mr Greenfield said: “I am delighted as his contribution to the local community is a valuable and amazing achievement which deserves recognition.”
Ray will receive his award at a glitzy ceremony at the Palace of Westminster on January 26.
He has also been shortlisted for two awards at this year’s Yorkshire Choices Awards - in the local fundraiser of the year and sporting achievement of the year categories, which will be presented at a ceremony in Leeds in April.
Ray said: “I feel honoured to even be nominated because there are some really big hitters who I’m up against.
“In the sporting achievement category, there are professional sportsmen and women and Olympians.”
The awards are voted for by the public online and Ray faces competition from Olympic triathletes Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee and Paralympian Hannah Cockcroft.
In the local fundraiser of the year award, doctor Kate Granger, who campaigned for more personal care for cancer patients before her death last year, is among the nominees.
Ray said: “I’ve been told the voting is going pretty well and I keep getting people ringing me up and saying they’ve voted for me.
“But it’s a public vote so you never know - just being shortlisted is an honour.”
Ray has so far raised almost £30,000 of his £75,000 target for specialist facilities at Newman School.
He will hold another fundraising event at the Wesley Centre in Maltby in the hope of drawing in more donations.
A question and answer evening will take place on Friday, January 20, from 7.30pm.
Tickets are £3 and available by calling the centre on 01709 811118. People can also pay on the door.
Ray will hand over the total amount raised so far to the school at a presentation next Friday, January 13.
The Advertiser has received dozens of support letters and coupons backing our Arise Sir Ray campaign, calling for him to be given a knighthood.