A GRAFFHAM man inspired by his brother who was injured in a riding accident, has been awarded a New Year’s Honour for services to disabled people.
Ian Thornley has received an OBE after serving as a non-executive director of Remploy, a company set up to provide employment for disabled people.
“It was something of a surprise,” he told The Observer, “but also very humbling.
“Remploy is a company that provides employment for people with disabilities and other complex barriers to work.
“It does great work and there are a great number of people working every day to try and transform other peoples’ lives through work.”
He said he had always been involved in the recruitment industry, “but I guess in relation to Remploy I have a brother, Martin, who was fairly seriously disabled after a riding accident at a young age.
“He inspired me by finishing his education, taking an apprenticeship as a saddle maker, starting his own business and employing people.
“He was an inspiration demonstrating that work and employment can transform the lives of people.”
A chartered accountant by profession, running his own business, Ian Thornley was with Remploy from 2006 to 2015.
“During that period Remploy, an agency with the department for work and pensions, went through significant structural change.
“Under treasury rules non executive directors serve for two to three years, but because of the restructuring, myself and another colleague were extended to 2015 and that coincided with the final piece of the restructuring and the moving of the company into the private sector with the sale to the US corporation Maximus.”
Born and brought up in Grimsby, Mr Thornley has lived in Graffham since 2000 with his wife Angie and their sons Elliott, Lucas, Jacob and Jamie.
He was involved with the Graffham Shop Association and is a member of the Graffham Downs Trust.