NEW YEAR’S HONOURS: Charitable horse trainer from Northamptonshire is awarded the OBE

Joan Tice, centre, who has been awarded the OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list.
Joan Tice, centre, who has been awarded the OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list.

A philanthropist who has donated thousands of pounds to Northampton General Hospital, All Saints Church and a host of worldwide causes is set to be awarded the OBE.

Joan Tice is due to be recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for her charitable services, having acted as a trustee to the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation for 50 years.

The horse trainer and grandmother of 11, who lives at Teeton Hall, said she was “over the moon” to be receiving the honour and admitted she has had to keep the news to herself since finding out she would be awarded six weeks ago.

The foundation was set up by her father, the post-war construction contractor Bernard Sunley, in 1960 and sees the family give out more than £2.5 million in grants each year to causes of the family’s choosing.

In 2011, Mrs Tice was instrumental in donating £50,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support as part of the Chronicle & Echo’s charity appeal fund. The Chron and Macmillan’s joint campaign aimed to fund a new blood cancer treatment unit at Northampton General Hospital.

Mrs Tice, a once keen hunter and rally driver in her younger days, said she was particularly proud of the help given to Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs and the Brooke Foundation - a charity for working horses, donkeys and mules in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Closer to home the foundation helped donate a large share to buy the current organ at All Saints Church.

“It’s a totally family-run trust, Mrs Tice,” now aged 81, said. “We have meetings four times a year and have a round table discussion about which charities to give support to.

“On the whole we are 100 percent in agreement of the causes we back - then it’s just a case of how much to give them.

“We like causes which want to help themselves. They have to really show that they are making an effort raise some money for what they need.”

The Bernard Sunley Foundation is currently chaired by Mrs Tice’s niece, Anabel Knight.