A woman from Rugby who has dedicated her life to helping others has been awarded a prestigious medal.
Beryl Emery was recently presented with the British Empire Medal, an honour which was discontinued in 1992 but revived last year to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
It was announced in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list that Mrs Emery had been put forward for her three-and-a-half decades of volunteer work in Rugby.
Mrs Emery, 71, of Sycamore Grove, spent 25 years as the honorary secretary of the RSPCA’s Rugby branch.
In 1986 she also helped launch the Rugby branch of Parkinson’s UK.
The growing support group, which has about 50 members, came into being after Mrs Emery’s husband Anthony had the disease. He was 32 when he was diagnosed.
“We had been married for five years and my eldest daughter was only eight weeks old when we were given the news,” Mrs Emery said.
“There was nowhere in the town where we could go for support or help.”
Mr Emery died when he was 58.
Mrs Emery added: “I started Rugby Parkinson’s UK because I wanted to create a place where other people could come and get help and advice about the disease and where carers could also get support and know they are not alone.”
The group meets on the last Thursday of every month at the town’s United Reformed Church in Hillmorton Road.
It holds exercise classes and provides help with speech and language, as well as hosting a range of informative talks.
There are also plenty of fun activities for both sufferers and their carers, including skittles nights, trips and an annual Christmas party.
Mrs Emery, who presented the Queen with a card for her Diamond Jubilee, received her medal at Judges House in Northgate Street, Warwick.
“We were made to feel very special,” she said.
“I am very shocked that I have got the British Empire Medal, but very proud.”
But being awarded the medal won’t stop her fundraising work, which she says she will continue. “It keeps me going,” she said.
“I find it rewarding to know I am helping people who are in the same position as I was.”