Rev Ronnie McCracken, the 71-year-old “itinerant evangelist” from Crumlin and frequent speaker at Banbridge Baptist Church, is to receive an MBE.

Since shortly before the break-up of the Soviet Union, he has been sending aid to Leningrad (now St Petersburg) after making contact with churches there. This has continued since, in Russia, Ethiopia, North of England, Israel and other countries around the globe.

“These things we were doing were practical expressions of our Christian faith in the Saviour,” commented Ronnie. “After 70 years of people in eastern Europe being told there is no God, it was not enough to go and hand out pamphlets.” Ronnie has led convoys of food and clothing lorries for many years and all the time preaching the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and his free Salvation.