FROM strawberry teas to photographic competitions - one woman’s tireless fundraising for 36 years has seen her rewarded with a British Empire Medal (BEM).

Heather Davies said it was a complete surprise when the letter arrived through her door at Plovers Rise in Kempsey on Friday, November 15, telling her she would be included in the New Year Honours List.

The 61-year-old has received a BEM for services to charitable fundraising for the work she does as the senior volunteer for Save the Children, Kempsey Branch.

Mrs Davies’ daughter, Elizabeth Frani, secretly got in touch with Save the Children who put the former supply teacher forward for the award.

Over 36 years, Mrs Davies and a team of about five others who make up the branch try and hold at least one fundraising event each month and on average raises between £3,000 and £4,000 each year.

While pregnant with her first child, she saw an advertisement asking for volunteers for a number of charities in a magazine and decided to fundraise for Save the Children.

After moving from Worcester to Kempsey and while bringing up Elizabeth as well as her other daughter Charlotte and son Allan, Mrs Davies created a network of mothers fundraising for the children’s charity.

“We were all young mothers together and we had lovely healthy children in nice, safe hospitals who wanted the same for every mother and baby and that’s how it started," she said.

“People are very good in Kempsey and Worcester and are always very generous and I couldn’t have got this without their support.

“When the letter came through, I was absolutely shocked but it is great honour and a lovely thing to receive.

“When you get something like this it is always thanks to a lot of people helping you including my husband, children, family, friends and the Kempsey group.”

And while she is looking forward to the local ceremony to receive the award and attending the Queen’s garden party, it is business as usual as the fundraising group prepares for a bring and buy sale at Church Rooms, Kempsey on Saturday, February 8.

She added: “We always like welcoming new people to the group whether they are just happy to bake a cake or wash up some teacups.”

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