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Marlow woman awarded British Empire Medal

A woman from Marlow has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her role in helping others.

Alison Rae, volunteer and supporter at Marlow Opportunity Playgroup for 37 years, was presented with the honour at a ceremony hosted by HM Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, at Missenden Abbey, Great Missenden on Thursday, May 16.

The medal is awarded for civil or military service worthy of recognition by the Crown, and was first created in 1922.

The ceremony was also attended by a number of Buckinghamshire’s deputy lieutenants who read the citations.

Marlow Opportunity Playgroup is a specialist group for children under five with complex and profound needs, based in Wooburn Green.

Reading Alison’s citation, deputy lieutenant Mr Allan Westray said: “Alison has recently retired from some of her duties with the playgroup, but she continues her support through fundraising events and still visits regularly to see the children and staff.

“Alison has clearly touched the lives of very many families and really helped to raise the awareness of children with special needs.”

Leader of Marlow Opportunity Playgroup, Jane Gibbons said:  “Alison is a wonderful, warm and characterful lady.

“She has a real fondness for the charity and holds it very dear to her heart, having seen it grow and flourish over time.

“She has directly helped hundreds of children and their families over many years.  Alison loves all children, but the children who attend the playgroup are particularly special to her.

“She has become very attached to many of the children and loves to hear of their progress”.

The ceremony also saw two other people from Bucks pick up the prestigious award.

Speaking after the ceremony, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher said: “The British Empire Medal is only awarded to the most exemplary candidates and these three residents embody everything it represents.

“They have tirelessly devoted their lives to helping others in their local communities in a variety of different ways. The one thing they have in common is their dedication and commitment.

“On behalf of HM The Queen, I heartily applaud each and every one of them.”

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