A DEDICATED volunteer from Kempsey who has raised thousands of pounds for children living in some of the world’s poorest countries has been named in the New Year’s Honours List.
Heather Davies, who helped set up a branch of Save the Children in the village, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to charitable fund-raising.
The 61-year-old said she was “honoured” to receive the accolade and paid tribute to the people of Kempsey and Worcester for their support.
“I was just absolutely thrilled when I found out,” she said. “It is very nice to have something like this on behalf of everyone else who has helped and for the group to be recognised.
“I could not have done anything unless I didn’t have that support and they have been extremely generous over the years.”
Mrs Davies told the Observer she began supporting the charity in 1977 after spotting an article in a magazine which asked for volunteers to come forward. It led to her creating multiple bed quilts by sewing thousands of blankets squares together which were sent to Africa.
“The reason I do it is because I have been extremely fortunate in my life,” she said. “I have had an idyllic childhood as I always had food on the table, I had a nice warm bed to go to and I had a proper education.
“I was also grateful as a mother that I was able to have my three children in a nice clean and safe hospital, but a lot of countries don’t have that access and I don’t want to think about any child suffering.”
The former teacher also notably put together a new charitable group in Kempsey when she moved to the village 30 years ago.
It now generates between £3,000 and £4,000 per year for Save the Children as the group sets up a range of fund-raising events throughout the year, including coffee mornings and an annual photographic exhibition.
Meanwhile, three leading figures at the University of Worcester were also named in the New Year’s Honours list.
John Ryan, pro vice-chancellor for students, and Prof Christine Robertson, head of the Institute of Education, were both awarded an MBE for services to higher education, while Ruth Jones, researcher and consultant at the Department of Applied Social Sciences, has received an OBE.
Her award is in recognition of her services to victims of domestic and sexual violence as she has played an instrumental role in championing education, research and support services over the past decade.
Ms Jones said: “Words cannot describe my surprise at receiving the OBE. I feel both thrilled and humbled. The award is recognition not only of my work, but that of those I work with including my colleagues, external partner, students and service users.”
Meanwhile, Prof Robertson, who has helped to develop the university’s reputation as one of the country’s finest teacher training centres, said his MBE came as an “incredible surprise”.
“I feel truly humbled and proud,” he added. “Education has been my lifelong passion and throughout my career I have been fortunate to work in schools, in higher education and other organisations alongside many other outstanding colleagues.”