‘Without him, we would not be where we are today’

Posted 20th June 2023

YMCA stalwart receives British Empire Medal for his services to the charity.

He has been involved with supporting the homeless in Milton Keynes and Northampton for 40 years. Now the work of Preston Ayres as a trustee and honorary treasurer has been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours List.

Mr Ayres has received a British Empire Medal for his work with the YMCA Milton Keynes and Northampton as well as with other charities. He has played a key role from the start in the development and opening of YMCA Milton Keynes’ new campus in the city centre.

Improving the lives of local young people has been Mr Ayres’ passion since he moved to Milton Keynes in the 1980s.He became a YMCA trustee in 1983 and in 1992, while he was honorary treasurer, he was instrumental in the purchase of the freehold of the former YMCA MK buildings in the city centre.

“Without this foresight, YMCA MK would not have been able to embark on the ambitious journey that culminated in the opening of our new £20 million, state-of-the-art campus in 2020,” says the charity.

He worked for more than seven years to bring the new campus project to fruition, supporting chief executive Simon Green with his vision for quality accommodation and holistic support services for local young people. A member of the development committee, Mr Ayres used his financial expertise and eye for detail to bring this complex project to life and keep it on-track. The new campus, which opened in 2020, enables YMCA MK to support more young people than ever before and increase the support available to young people living on campus and in the wider community.

Mr Ayres’ work has ensured the ongoing financial viability of YMCA MK and Northampton and he remains a trustee today. He brings his Rotary Club colleagues to the campus to use its conference facilities and continues to raise money for the charity taking part in the annual Extra Mile Challenge cycling fundraiser.

“I have enjoyed working with YMCA MK and Northampton,” says Mr Ayres. “I have directed the finances over many years, I dedicate this award to the amazing staff team who work tirelessly every day to help so many young people make a better life for themselves.”

YMCA MK chief executive Simon Green says: “This award is well deserved and recognises the outstanding work that Preston has done with YMCA MK and Northampton and other charities over many years. It is fair to say that without him YMCA MK would not be where it is today.”