A community stalwart has been honoured for 40 years of voluntary work for a cancer charity.
Linda Whitworth, chair of Bloodwise in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, has been given a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year Honours list.
The 67-year-old is one of several Fylde residents today recognised for their commitment to education, business, the community, and to young people.
Mrs Whitworth, who lives in Devonshire Road, North Shore, with her husband Jim, said she burst into tears after getting a letter to say she is being honoured.
The former Westcliff Primary School teacher said: “I kept looking down at my name to make sure they got the right person. It was a total shock.”
Mrs Whitworth, a grandmother of two, began volunteering with the charity 40 years ago, and is also a reader at All Hallows Church in Bispham, a pastoral assistant at a mother and toddler group, and is involved with Thornton acting group Windmill Players. She said: “I have enjoyed doing it so much and I have worked with a wonderful set of people.”
I have enjoyed doing it so much and I have worked with a wonderful set of people
Mrs Whitworth can still remember a pivotal moment in her life, which happened in 1975 while she was stood outside what is now a British Heart Foundation shop in Crescent West, Cleveleys collecting for the charity, which was then called Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
She said: “A lady put £5 in, which is a lot of money to give now but was even more back then. She looked at me and said, ‘It would have been my little girl’s birthday today but she died five years ago from leukaemia.’
“I put my head up, shoulders back, and collected all morning. That feeling I had then has never left me and over the years I have seen a remarkable advance in treatment and research
“Nine in 10 children with the common form now survive. They didn’t back then.”
Other Lancastrians honoured include Blackpool and the Fylde College’s deputy principal Catherine Hill, who has been given an OBE for services to further education.
Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire Peter Mileham, who is an ambassador for the cancer charity Rosemere Foundation and a Citizens in Policing ambassador for Lancashire Constabulary, has been given an OBE for his services to the community.
And Lytham firm Danbro’s co-founders Damian and Helen Broughton were awarded MBEs for services to small businesses and sole traders and to the community.
Frances Mary Winterflood was given a BEM for her voluntary service to young people in Lancashire through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, while deputy chief constable Andrew Rhodes from Lancashire Constabulary was given the Queen’s Police Medal.
Nationally, some of the biggest names honoured include Falklands veteran-turned-charity campaigner Simon Weston, champion jockey AP McCoy, Man Utd football legend Denis Law, boxer Carl Frampton, actress Barbara Windsor, Luther star Idris Elba, and Ann Summers tycoon Jacqueline Gold.