Duchess awards British Empire Medals to dedicated residents

David Carr was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle.
 Picture by Jane Coltman
David Carr was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman

Five Northumberland residents were presented with British Empire Medals at a special investiture ceremony at Alnwick Castle last week.

David Carr and Carole Catchpole, both from Longframlington; Gleniss McNeal, from Bedlington and who volunteers at Cragside; Alan Nixon, from Alnwick but living in Bedlington; and Evelyn Weightman, from Corbridge; were awarded the honour by the Duchess of Northumberland, in her capacity as the Queen’s Lord Lieutenant for the county.

Carole Catchpole was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle.
 Picture by Jane Coltman

Carole Catchpole was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman

The British Empire Medal (BEM) was revived in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year after it was disbanded in 1992.

It is given to those engaging in voluntary work who have made a hands-on contribution to their local community.

The Duchess said: “To receive a British Empire Award is an incredible achievement and it is a pleasure to present the awards to these five very worthy recipients.

“I’d like to congratulate each one for all their dedicated work and commitment over many years. They are a credit to their causes, their communities and to Northumberland and an inspiration to us all.”

Alan Nixon was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle.
 Picture by Jane Coltman

Alan Nixon was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman

David Carr was awarded the medal for service to his local community, having run the village shop since 1974 and providing an unfailing and cheerful service to Longframlington. He is also a weekly volunteer and visitor to the patients in St Oswald’s Hospice in Newcastle.

Carole Catchpole is the founder of the Northumbrian Hedgehog Rescue Trust, one of the current Jam Jar Army beneficiaries. In the ’90s, after caring for injured hedgehogs in her garden and discovering how much the population had been declining, she turned her garage into a rescue centre.

Glenniss McNeal was recognised for her voluntary services, both for the National Trust for more than 20 years and the bereavement service linked to Macmillan in Northumberland.

Alan Nixon has made an immense contribution to Newbiggin Golf Club over a 12-year period as well as being heavily involved with Collingwood School and Media Arts College in Morpeth.

Gleniss McNeal was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle.
 Picture by Jane Coltman

Gleniss McNeal was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman

Evelyn Weightman founded a Head and Neck Cancer Fund to raise awareness of and give support to sufferers of this condition following the loss of her husband to the disease.

Evelyn Weightman was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle.
 Picture by Jane Coltman

Evelyn Weightman was presented with a British Empire Medal by the Duchess of Northumberland in a ceremony at Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman