Devoted volunteer honoured with British Empire Medal

12 January 2018

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A devoted volunteer from South Derbyshire has been awarded a prestigious British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community.

Elizabeth Shipton, of Midway, was recognised in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for helping hundreds to get fit and active through walking.

The 85-year-old has been instrumental in encouraging people to put their best foot forward since 2002, when Get Active in The Forest – based at Rosliston Forestry Centre - launched its Walking for Health scheme.

Equipped with her knowledge of the National Forest, she volunteered to lead walks through the great outdoors and also became an ambassador for the project.

The scheme now proudly boasts more than 60 volunteers, with over 70 walks per month.

Mrs Shipton, who is now retired from leading walks, said:

“I was surprised and honoured to receive such a prestigious award for doing something I am so passionate about.

“It is overwhelming to be recognised in this way and hope it is inspires people to volunteer and help others. South Derbyshire means everything to me and I am delighted to have been able to make a positive difference.

“I would like to thank all the people who have helped me along the way. It is inspiring to think that what I did in my daily life comes natural and from the heart.”

Debbie Chesterman, Manager of Rosliston Forestry Centre and Get Active in The Forest, said:

“Elizabeth is one in a million. It is fitting that all the hard work and dedication that she has given to so many worthy causes, including ours for so many years, has been recognised.”

Cllr Bob Wheeler, Leader of South Derbyshire District Council, which runs the Walking for Health Scheme, said:

“We are incredibly proud of Elizabeth and the time she has dedicated to volunteering. She is someone to look up to and we would like to thank her for her commitment and passion. She is an inspiration to us all.”

Elizabeth started volunteering for various organisations in 1975. She has also volunteered for The Stroke Club, the Lunch Club, South Derbyshire CVS and the Widow’s Society.