July 25 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, June 14, 2014
A Great Clacton woman who has “given herself wholeheartedly” to a number of groups in the past 30 years has been awarded the British Empire Medal.
Patricia Manning was among those recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Pat, as she likes to be known, said: “When I heard I was absolutely shocked, I didn’t believe it and got my son to read it.
“I wonder who put me forward, who I have to blame,” she joked.
“My youngest son said ‘About time Mum’ and my five kids are all thrilled to bits.”
Pat, 81, has worked in the charity sector since she was 17 at still at school when she first helped her parents run a youth club in the East End of London, where she was born and grew up.
“It is part of my upbringing. My nan was one of those good neighbours. It is part of me and I like helping people,” she said.
“I’m just a person who likes to be positive in life, and I have tried to bring my children up the same way.
“I had a very supportive husband and family, and they loved to see me doing things. I’m not a person who likes to sit around doing nothing.”
Pat and her late husband, who died 20 years ago, moved to Clacton 59 years ago a week after they got married.
Pat said: “Tendring is my home. It is a lovely place to live.”
When she got married Pat enjoyed a brief spell out of the voluntary sector but became involved again when her children started school.
In her award citation it states Pat “provided an exemplary service” as vice-chairman of governors for Ravenscroft Primary School from 1982 to 2008, and also served as a governor of Bishops Park Secondary School from 2002-2005.
It adds: “She visited the school every week and took tremendous interest in all the children, at the same time she built up an excellent relationship with all the staff.”
Pat said: “I got involved at my children’s school and also wanted some input in Bishops Park School when it was being built as ‘my kids’, would be going there. I say ‘my kids’, meaning all of the pupils, they were all loveable rogues.”
Her citation states: “She has given herself wholeheartedly to all of the organisations that she has been involved in since 1984. In particular, she has tirelessly fundraised for Clacton Carnival and Clacton Crime Prevention Panel. As chairman of the crime panel, she involves herself in all of the events and initiatives that are organised.”
Pat is still involved in the crime panel and the Clacton Carnival.
Her “selfless community involvement over the last 29 years” also includes being a district councillor from 1984-96, including a spell as chairman, chairman of the Burrville Residents’ Association from 1986-2005, unpaid director of Pennypot Residential Home 1988-2005, vice-chairman of the fundraising committee to build Clacton Community Centre and chairman of Community Voluntary Services Tendring 1986-2006.
She was also, until last year, a full-time carer for a neighbour whose husband died.
When she is not being helpful Pat enjoys reading, doing crosswords, and cooking – itself a helpful task as she bakes things to raise money for good causes.