Six community heroes in Suffolk presented with prestigious BEM honour

The BEM investiture, left to right, Linda Howe, Sarah Rush, Jessica Cook, Andrew Campbell, HM Lord L

The BEM investiture, left to right, Linda Howe, Sarah Rush, Jessica Cook, Andrew Campbell, HM Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, Diane Pannell and Margaret Baxter. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Prestigious honours have been awarded to six community heroes in Suffolk – recognising a lifetime of helping others.

Margaret Baxter Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Margaret Baxter Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The British Empire Medals (BEM) were presented by Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, during a ceremony at The Racing Stables in Euston on Thursday, November 1.

They had been announced in the Queen’s birthday honours this year.

Lady Clare said: “For any Lord Lieutenant this occasion is hugely important and very moving.

“When Her Majesty the Queen decided to reinstate the BEM this is exactly what she had in mind. She wanted to highlight that what people do in their local community is just as important as what people do on the national stage.”

Andrew Campbell with Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, after receiving his BEM

Andrew Campbell with Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare, Countess of Euston, after receiving his BEM Picture: BRAD JONES - Credit: Archant


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Margaret Baxter, 95, received the medal for services to people with sight impairment and the community in Stowmarket. She has done outstanding work with Stowmarket Talking Newspapers for more than 30 years.

Jessica Cook, founding director of Can You Hear Us?, received the BEM for voluntary services to neurofibromatosis type 2 patients.

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Lady Clare told her: “You are an example to all of us, and Suffolk is very proud of you.”

Linda Howe, from Bury St Edmunds, received a BEM for services to the community in Honington and Sapiston after helping to secure funding for project to transform a village hall.

Jessica Cook at the ceremony
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Jessica Cook at the ceremony Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The Lord Lieutenant said 400 groups now used the hall. “It is impossible to exaggerate the difference a wonderful village hall can make to people in local communities,” she added.

Andrew Campbell, from Aldeburgh, received the BEM for services to the church of England and community in east Suffolk, with his work at All Saints in Darsham particularly praised.

Diane Pannell, received the BEM for services to amateur music making in the community in Suffolk. As a player, teacher and conductor, Diane has inspired musicians of all ages.

Meanwhile, Sarah Rush, received the medal for services to the community in Barnham. The 79-year-old has done do much for the village, including helping to run the village fete, and working with St Gregory’s Church.

Linda Howe, second right, after receiving her BEM for services to the community in Honington and Sap

Linda Howe, second right, after receiving her BEM for services to the community in Honington and Sapiston Picture: BRAD JONES - Credit: Archant

If you would like advice on how to nominate somebody for a national honour, contact the Lieutenancy Office at Suffolk County Council by emailing honours@suffolk.gov.uk

Sarah Rush, second left, received the BEM for services to the community in Barnham Picture: BRAD JO

Sarah Rush, second left, received the BEM for services to the community in Barnham Picture: BRAD JONES - Credit: Archant

Diane Pannell Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Diane Pannell Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

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