TWO people in Ryedale are celebrating after their efforts were recognised in the New Year's Honours.

Emma Woods, owner of Duncombe Sawmill, in Helmsley, has been awarded an MBE for services to rural business and skills in North Yorkshire, and firefighter Justin Rowe has received an British Empire Medal for services to the community and to charity in Malton.

Justin Rowe, 52, watch manager at Malton fire station, is an endurance runner, running huge distances for charities as varied as the RNLI, Macmillan Cancer Support, Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Help for Heroes and the Firefighters Charity.

Mr Rowe, who thought his letter from the Prime Minister was a wind up, said: “I’m absolutely full of pride and full of happiness.”

Among the many long distance runs Mr Rowe has completed since he started in 1997 was a 300-mile run round New York, running to all 252 fire houses in the five boroughs, to raise money for ex-firefighters.

Mr Rowe added: “I want to say thank you to all my colleagues for supporting me, and all my sponsors.”

Emma Woods took over Duncombe Sawmill in 2003 as it faced closure and has spent the past decade making it what it is today; a niche timber business which prides itself on manufacturing good quality British products and offering outstanding customer service.

“I am extremely honoured and thrilled to have been given this award – there aren’t really the words to explain how I am feeling," she said.

"The sawmill is a huge part of my life and means so much to me. I am extremely lucky to have very loyal customers and a wonderful team, who deserve as much of the credit for this award as I do.”

When she took the sawmill over, Emma, who lives in Kirkbymoorside, became the first woman to work in the business – although the team now comprises equal numbers of both sexes.

In 2009 Emma was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in the Yorkshire Rural Awards and in 2013 became treasurer of the local Helmsley in Business group.