Julia Upton MBE is the gift that keeps on giving to Milton Keynes

Some people might consider winding down after retiring and receiving an MBE in the same year, writes Mimi Launder.

But MK’s very own philanthropist, Julia Upton, shows no sign of slowing down just yet.

Julia was awarded an MBE in 2016 for her brilliant work in leading the Milton Keynes Community Foundation (MKCF), which she helped for 19 years.

But instead of putting her feet up or treating herself to nice country walks in retirement, Julia seems to be stepping things up as she now has five influential MK community roles!

Julia (1)

She is a board director of the Business Leaders Partnership, a member of MK Gallery’s steering group for capital fundraising and a trustee of MK YMCA, MK Rose and Wavendon Allmusic Plan at The Stables Theatre.

“I am keeping busy,” admitted Julia when we caught up with her for an interview. But before anything else, we wanted to hear all about the moment she found out she would be taking that special trip to Windsor Castle.

“It was a huge shock,” she said. “I was running round the house shouting ‘I don’t believe it!’

“You feel very proud but, mainly, you feel very humbled about it. It was a tribute to MKCF as a whole. No one person can achieve that.”

In the last year alone, MKCF – an organisation that helps local charities and groups – has provided £1.7million to support the community.

Julia said: “It is a very unique organisation in that it’s there to support local groups and not for profit.

“So it’s all about helping people and improving life in whatever way we can.”

Julia 3 (2)

Julia has been inspired and touched by the support from people in MK during her time at MKCF.

She said: “Each year we were able to increase the financial support to local groups and charities. When you found people in Milton Keynes, and talked through issues and needs, they were very generous.”

With a host of community roles ahead of her, Julia is excited to celebrate MK’s 50th birthday this year.

She said: “I am particularly looking forward to the future and expansion of the art gallery, for which I am a steering group member.

“I would also like Milton Keynes to become an even better place for the voluntary sector to thrive. We have achieved so much in MK, but we can achieve so much more.”

This article was first published in the March issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. You can read the full digital edition by clicking here.

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