FOR more than twenty years, Ralph Rudden has helped transform Sale West’s Racecourse Estate from a no-go area to a place which sees people queuing up to buy homes.

Last week, Mr Rudd’s commitment to his community was rewarded with a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

The honour was in recognition of Mr Rudden’s voluntary services to The Racecourse community, formerly one of Greater Manchester’s most notorious estates.

Mr Rudden, 63, said: “I was surprised and delighted to receive the honour but I regard it as an award for the achievements of the people of Sale West.”

Mr Rudden’s voluntary work was sparked two decades ago when he received a letter addressed to his Epsom Avenue home.

The final line read - “The Notorious Race Course Estate”. The estate had become synonymous with crime, drugs and deprivation.

It both infuriated and inspired Ralph.

He helped form the Sale West and Ashton Partnership, which brings together the local authority, housing associations, police and schools, to improve the Racecourse Estate.

Ward Councillor, Rob Chilton, said: “Ralph is the glue which keeps many local organisations together, I am delighted at his award.”

When the Lottery was looking for areas within Trafford to receive a multi-million pound grant, Ralph drew up a boundary plan and informed them of Sale West’s past achievements. It was granted Big Local Area status and for three years it has used the money to continue to improve the Racecourse Estate.

He said: “Our next project will be to turn the car park of the demolished Beeches Pub into a Garden of Reflection and community allotment. The site of the actual pub is already an orchard.

Ralph also chairs New Way Forward, a mental health organisation, as well as Voluntary and Community Action Trafford (VCAT) and Trafford’s Strategic Partnership.

He said: “Sale West is like the Forth Bridge, work never stops.”