Bury St Edmunds town pastor acknowledged in New Year’s Honours

Jo Copsey will receive the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours list.

Jo Copsey will receive the British Empire Medal in the New Year's Honours list. - Credit: Gregg Brown

For more than five years, she has patrolled the night time streets of Bury St Edmunds to support vulnerable people as they leave bars and restaurants.

Now, Jo Copsey, a town pastor volunteer from West Row, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her services to policing and community safety in the town.

Speaking yesterday Mrs Copsey said she never expected any reward for a volunteer work, which Suffolk police said has been crucial in diffusing difficult situations as well as protecting those in need.

“It’s a complete surprise”, she added. “When the letter came I just couldn’t take it in. It came out of the blue, I had no idea. I never expected anything like this. It’s just a privilege to out there and be able to offer help to people when they are in need. We meet an awful lot of lovely people who might not need our help but it’s just a really good to be out there when people are having a night out and help keep them safe.”

As well as providing a vital service to individuals who are often unwell or in vulnerable situations, Mrs Copsey was also commended for her role in supporting the night time economy collaborating with the police, partners and community of Bury St Edmunds.

In the nomination for her honour, the grandmother of four was praised for recruiting and training other volunteers – she now co-ordinates 50 volunteers in the town – and was credited for ensuring the scheme has a long-term and financially secure future.

An accompanying statement read: “She is a real galvaniser for community activity and her enthusiasm and dedication is infectious with the local partners all fulsome in their praise of her efforts.”