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Go Ape founder and former Army captain made an MBE

The co-founder of Go Ape and former Army captain Tristram Mayhew said he is motivated to help people “live life more adventurously”, as he has been made an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours.

The businessman has been recognised for his services to young people and youth empowerment.

He said news of the MBE was “unexpected and flattering”, and credited the honour to his position on the board of the National Citizen Service (NCS).

The NCS is a Government-backed organisation which offers experiences and residential trips for young people.

Mr Mayhew told the PA news agency that, in his experience, young people “don’t need that much of a nudge and a steer” when it comes to doing community volunteering, saying it is something many want to do anyway.

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“They just need a bit of encouragement and facilitation with opportunities,” he said.

His remarks come after the Conservative Party pledged to reintroduce compulsory national service for 18-year-olds, which could involve a placement with the armed forces and volunteering in the community.

Mr Mayhew served as a tank and infantry commander in the British Army’s Royal Dragoon Guards, retiring as a captain at the age of 29.

He went on to set up outdoor activities group Go Ape with his wife Rebecca in 2002, which now runs 37 adventure parks across the UK.

“Go Ape is about trying to create adventures and encourage people to live life more adventurously,” the boss said.

It became an employee-owned company in 2022, meaning its 1,000-strong staff are co-owners of the business and share in any surplus profit it generates.

“Obviously you make a lot of money when you sell your company, but most people I spoke to who had done that felt guilty because it had a big impact on people who remained in the business,” Mr Mayhew said, adding that it “felt pretty selfish” to consider.

The Mayhews retained a 10% share in the business when it shifted to the new structure.

Alongside their business commitments, the Mayhews have worked with their local sailing club in Bosham and supported the youth teams.

“I wish my dad had had the time to be able to do that,” he said, reflecting on his motivation for getting involved in the local sport.

Mr Mayhew said his MBE is a reflection of the people who do voluntary and community work, as they “put years and years on the front line, and don’t get the recognition”.