Hard-working heroes honoured in new year list

Bourne resident Dorothy Alexander, 94,  who is to recieve the BEM
Bourne resident Dorothy Alexander, 94, who is to recieve the BEM

A community stalwart who dedicated her life to Bourne and a dedicated fundraiser running marathons well into her 60s are among those named in the Queen’s 2016 new year honours list.

Dorothy Alexander, 94, from Bourne, has been awarded the British Empire Medal, or BEM, for services to the community. Penny Hedley Lewis, 67, from Corby Glen, has been made an MBE for voluntary services to the British Red Cross. And Botanical artist Anne-Marie Evans, from Stamford, has been made an MBE for services to botanical art and education.

Penny Hedley Lewis is an MBE

Penny Hedley Lewis is an MBE

Dorothy is originally from Montreal in Canada, but moved to England with her RAF husband and settled in Bourne in 1946. Looking for ways to make new friends, she joined the Women’s Institute and soon became a key figure, serving in many roles on the committee and helping with programmes such as Meals on Wheels.

Dorothy also worked with the old Bourne Youth Club that met in the Vestry Hall, and was later involved in the negotiations with Lincolnshire County Council that led to the creation of Bourne Youth Centre. She was chairman of the management committee from 1986 to 2013.

Dorothy was one of the founder members of Bourne Bridge Club, serving as treasurer for many years, and continues to attend regularly.

Dorothy said it was “quite a surprise” when she learned of her honour, adding: “I don’t think I have done anything special.

“You just work and you hope along the way people who attend the associations you have been involved with enjoyed their time there.”

Penny Hedley Lewis joined the British Red Cross in December 2005 as President of Lincolnshire, having previously been a committee member of the Irnham Bazaar. She has run the London Marathon every year since then, raising money and awareness for the charity.

Penny is responsible for an average annual personal fundraising donation of £20,000, and this does not include her advocacy work for local restricted fundraising. A great advocate of the work of the British Red Cross, she regularly attends national events to ensure she can talk about the organisation, its people and its work with understanding and knowledge.

The idea of becoming president was initially met with hesitation, but Penny decided to give it a go and has not looked back since.

She said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time as president. I’ve met all sorts of people.

“There are so many things that the British Red Cross does in this country that people don’t know about. They see the international aid or the charity helping with the floods but there is much more, like the First Call short-term support service.”