A WOMAN who has devoted more than half of her life to supporting the elderly in her community has received well-earned recognition after being awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM).
Marie Nash spent 50 years at the head of the Branston Thursday Welcome Club, before finally stepping down last year.
Though she is no longer chairman, the 89-year-old still plays an active part in the running of the group, which holds weekly meetings allowing older members of the community to catch-up and chat with fellow members.
Mrs Nash, of Burton Road, Branston, is to receive the award having being named among recipients in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Also a former councillor at both borough and parish level, and now and alderman of East Staffordshire, it is clear Mrs Nash revelled in the role of responsibility and was keen to make a difference where she lived.
With the winners nominated anonymously, Mrs Nash said it came as a shock when the letter dropped onto her doormat.
She told the Mail: “The letter came through and it was a huge surprise.
“It is a great honour, I feel very humbled to have been suggested. I really enjoy all the work that we do and am pleased if people think I have been able to help.”
Shortly after Marie Nash moved to Branston in the late 1950s, believing there were not enough opportunities for elderly, she and a group of friends decided to set up the Branston Thursday Welcome club.
She went of the lead the group for half a century and is now the only surviving founding member.
The group remains as popular as ever in Branston, with more than 40 older people, between the ages of 60 and 95, regularly turning up for the meetings every week
Mrs Nash said: “Everything was for young people, with youth clubs and all the rest of it, but never anything for senior citizens, so we all got together and started one up.
“It’s been a very good organisation. I’m delighted it’s gone so well. Long may it continue.
“I was also a member of the parish council as well as the borough council. I tried to make a difference and I’m happy if someone thinks I did.”
COUNCILLOR ED NETS QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY AWARD
A PARISH councillor who has fought for the interests of a village near Burton for the last 20 years was the borough’s other recipient of a British Empire Medal (BEM) following the announcement of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Barton under Needwood councillor Ed Sharkey is to be rewarded after being put forward for his efforts in the village.
A modest Mr Sharkey was keen to play down his role, but said he was honoured to have been recognised.
He said: “I don’t think it’s as if the Queen knows who I am or anything!
“I was very surprised, particularly by the fact somebody thought I was worth nominating. It is a great honour. It’s nice to think there was someone out there who thought of putting me forward.”
Mr Sharkey, who also spent 10 years as a scout leader in Burton, before taking his seat a few miles down the A38 on Barton Parish Council, said he still gets the same enjoyment of trying to make a difference where he lives.
“There are lots of people who are involved in community activities, that’s what makes a community,” he said.
“We are all tribal animals, very few humans work well in isolation.
“Getting involved and being an active member of the community is extremely rewarding and I look forward to it continuing.”
Among winners in the region was also Staffordshire Police Constable Kevin Derrick Lee, who was nominated for services to policing.