Local hero Jean celebrates double award

A VOLUNTEER who has devoted more than 40 years to her local community has been rewarded with two prestigious awards in the space of a few days.

Dave Gooderham

A VOLUNTEER who has devoted more than 40 years to her local community has been rewarded with two prestigious awards in the space of a few days.

Joan Fry, 85, has followed up a Local Hero recognition given out by her local politician with an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for voluntary service to the community in Bury St Edmunds.

The pensioner, hailed as an “outstanding volunteer in her local community”, was last night still coming to terms with her double accolade.


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Mrs Fry, who lives in Woolpit, near Bury, said: “I am delighted to be honoured with both awards but also amazed. I am pleased that the voluntary sector has been acknowledged.

“I was flabbergasted when I heard about the MBE, I never expected anything like that. I am also delighted to be named a Local Hero. I just like doing things for people.”

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For more than 40 years, Mrs Fry has worked tirelessly in her local community, supporting people with disabilities and raising funds for local and national charities which support disabled people.

She is currently secretary and a volunteer at Mid Suffolk Axis, driving people with physical and sensory disabilities to their daytime activities group three days each week.

Mrs Fry also raised money for an annual holiday for group members and played a massive part in raising funds for Mid Suffolk Axis to buy a minibus with the help of the Big Lottery Fund.

When her husband, Jack, suffered a stroke in the early 1980s, she helped raise over £100,000 for Crossroads to thank them for supporting the family.

Mrs Fry, a former winner of Suffolk's Volunteer of the Year award and also vice chairman of brain injury charity Headway, will be presented with her Local Hero award by Bury MP, David Ruffley, at the Heroes' Tea Party at the House of Commons next Tuesday .

Mr Ruffley said: “Joan Fry is a very worthy winner of the Local Hero award and her outstanding commitment to helping disabled people for over forty years is truly remarkable.”

The award, a national scheme which celebrates older volunteers' achievements, is organised by The Experience Corps and the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Community and Voluntary Sector.

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