Services to the community are rewarded with BEM

May Wilson, BEM
May Wilson, BEM

A woman who has dedicated her spare time to serving her community has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday honours.

Elizabeth May Wilson, known as May, from Powburn, has been given the honour for her tireless work in the village and the surrounding area.

And while May is secretary of Hedgeley WI, a member of the Breamish Hall committee, part of Powburn show committee and helped to set up a village hall consortium in north Northumberland, she also works full-time as head chef at Cragside.

The 60-year-old spends hundreds of hours of her time fund-raising for the community and single-handedly raised more than £50,000 for the Breamish Hall for renovations and repairs following flooding.

Her leading role in the show means she has also been able to persuade many individuals and organisations to donate money and help in its organisation.

May said: “I was really, really surprised to find out I was getting this honour, but I was excited as well. I just thought it was lovely that someone nominated me for it.

“I usually like to just get on with everything and stay in the background rather than be acknowledged for what I do.

“I started with joining the WI and it just went on from there. I was made chairman of the hall committee and just did what I could.”

“I just want to say a huge thank-you to everybody over the course of time that has helped me and given me advice.”