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Mr Ramsgate Ralph Hoult receives an OBE in the New Year's Honours

By Julia Collins

Celebrating with a gong from the 2018 New Year's Honours list will be Mr Ramsgate.

Ralph Hoult has been awarded an OBE for services to the community.

And it won’t be his first visit to Buckingham Palace.

Ralph Hoult at Ramsgate's Royal Harbour

Ralph Hoult at Ramsgate's Royal Harbour

He said: “I went to a garden party there some years ago.

“I’m really pleased with my award as I’ve always been a bit of a royalist.

“I organised street parties for the Queen’s Silver and Golden Jubilees and a beach party for her 90th birthday in 2016.

“I met the Queen at a lunch in Canterbury during her Golden Jubilee year. I was invited in my role as chairman of the Sea Cadets and took one of them along with me.”

Mr Hoult, who turned 74 on Christmas Day, was an independent councillor for two years for Central Harbour ward on Ramsgate Town Council and was made deputy mayor at his first meeting.

“I’m really pleased with my award as I’ve always been a bit of a royalist." - Ralph Hoult

He joined the RAF in 1960 as a 16-year-old, spending 12 years with the force.

He then worked for Argos and in 1978 he opened Ralph Hoult Photographic Studio in Park Road.

He set up Starlite Entertainers 37 years ago with acts including Ramsgate Operatic Society, magicians and dance groups.

The group has raised more than a quarter of a million pounds for charity and has staged more than 700 shows across Thanet since the early 1980s at venues including the Margate Winter Gardens, the Theatre Royal and the Granville theatre.

He also set up Ramsgate Events Group, a spin-off from Starlite which organised outdoor events.

And now once a month he does slideshows at the Custom House on the town’s history, along with hosting ceremonies including the Obelisk awards and the Make Me A Star contest.

Ralph Hoult's shop in Park Road

Ralph Hoult's shop in Park Road

 

Among his community roles is as the chairman of Ramsgate Events Organisers, which helps those who put on major events across the town such as the carnival and Ellington Park fairs.

Mr Hoult is married to Jean and the couple have three sons and two grandchildren.

And he is showing no sign of putting his feet up in 2018.

In January he is starting a regular history workshop, with the aim of eventually setting up a Ramsgate museum with the help of his collection of 4,000 pictures of town.

And February 14 will see the start of his senior citizens club in the community room of Tesco in Broadstairs.

Later in the year he aims to set up a weekly friendship club for senior citizens in Ramsgate, with a venue yet to be decided.

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