Grandmother-of-five Margot Small has been awarded the British Empire Medal for Services to Children and Young People in the New Year Honours List.
Margot, 65, has been part of Burnley Wood Children’s Centre for more than six years and has gone above and beyond the services of a volunteer, helping young people in the area and also starting a teenage parent group from scratch.
“I was gobsmacked when I received the letter to say I had been awarded a BEM,“ said mother-of-two Margot, who lives in Worsthorne. “I was totally shocked.”
Margot became involved with the Children’s Centre on Oxford Road, which is run by the charity Action for Children, when she retired.
“I used to be a health visitor in Burnley Wood for 20 years. My friend asked me to volunteer at the Children’s Centre when I retired and I took it from there.
“It was extremely rewarding. I helped families who were less fortunate and also ran a teenage group for young mums. I tried to teach them to cook although I ended up doing most of it! But it was about encouraging them and building up their self-esteem and not being judgemental. I wanted to give them a chance of moving forward instead of being stuck.”
Margot had to give up her volunteer work at the centre this year as she is having treatment for secondary cancer but said: “I still see a lot of the teenagers when I am walking around Burnley so I keep in touch.”
And she is looking forward to her day at Buckingham Palace later this year.
“I get presented with my award locally by the Lord lieutenant of Lancashire and then I will get an invite to a garden party. I will have to wear a hat - I have never worn one before!”