Karl Wharton receives MBE from Prince Charles17/02/2017
Karl Wharton (GBR), who has been a member of the FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics Technical Committee since 2009, has received the Order of the British Empire for his outstanding services to Gymnastics. Honoured in The Queen’s Birthday Honours List last year, Wharton was presented with his MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in an investiture ceremony at London’s Buckingham Palace last Friday.
The honours list recognises the achievements of extraordinary people for their contribution to public life in the United Kingdom. Wharton, a full-time senior lecturer and programme leader at Northumbria University and volunteer director of the Deerness Gymnastics Academy, was honoured in particular for the success of the academy and also his role on the FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics TC.
The club that he oversees specialises in Acrobatic and Tumbling and offers daily Gymnastics classes to all ages and levels, welcoming over 800 people every week. When it faced an uncertain future five years ago, Wharton galvanised support to take over the building which houses the club and create the Deerness Gymnastics Academy. The club is now a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status.
“The whole occasion was something I will never forget – from arriving at Buckingham Palace and seeing the crowds of tourists outside to waiting in the ceremony and then receiving the honour from Prince Charles,” Wharton said. “It is a memory I will always treasure and it was great to be able to share the moment with those closest to me."
“I have a great passion and love for the sport and this is a very great honour and one I have never dreamed of receiving. The sport of Acrobatic Gymnastics has developed greatly over the past few years and it has been a privilege to have been part of this development and success at a local, national and international level.”
Wharton is a much respected international coach, judge and administrator, who has inspired a generation of gymnasts, including more than 100 who went on to represent Great Britain and 15 World and European champions.
FIG President Morinari Watanabe (JPN) recognised the significance of the honour bestowed upon Wharton as he said: "I am very proud and I wish to thank Karl for his important achievements for Acrobatic Gymnastics. On behalf of the international Gymnastics community I extend my sincere congratulations to Karl on this prestigious accolade."
FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics Technical Committee President Rosy Taeymans (BEL) said: “I’m very proud of Karl and lucky to have him in my TC. Though he is often overloaded by too much work, he contributes so much as a member and secretary in the FIG ACRO TC. He rightfully earned this award for his outstanding achievements and service to the community. He stands out as an example for me and many others and is a big help in developing Acrobatic Gymnastics in the right direction.”