Local Sheffield heroes receive honours for community work

The recipients of the British Empire Medal, presented by the Lord Mayor and Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire. Picture: Andrew Roe
The recipients of the British Empire Medal, presented by the Lord Mayor and Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Unsung heroes from Sheffield were given recognition as they received their British Empire Medals.

Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Andrew Coombe and Lord Mayor Denise Fox presented the medals in the reception room of Sheffield Town Hall.

Among those receiving the awards, announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, was Mathew Mowat – whose life was turned around by boxing.

He now coaches and devotes hours of his time and skills to raising funds for charity.

Mathew, from Gleadless, awarded his medal for services to boxing, is a dedicated volunteer at Sheffield Boxing Centre, helping young people.

Ron Wiltshire, from Wincobank, received his medal for his charity fundraising.

After surviving a heart attack in 2005 he decided he wanted to give something back to charity and has now raised more than £100,000 for the Poppy Appeal.

Former railway ticket officer Ron, aged 64, who used to work for East Midlands Trains at Chesterfield station, took two weeks off from his job every October to travel up and down the country selling poppies to passengers.

Home Office colleagues Elizabeth Versi, 40, from Walkley, and Lisa Towers, 47, from Beauchief, were awarded British Empire Medals for services to mental health awareness after co-founding outreach programme Break the Stigma.

Philip Howarth was accepting the medal on behalf of his 82-year-old mother Joan, who is a costume maker from Crookes.

Joan was acknowledged for her voluntary services to costuming within amateur dramatics.

Joan Harding was given her medal for services to the community.

The 69-year-old, from Beighton, has dedicated more than 20 years of her life to the Limes Community Centre in Beighton.

The grandmother has raised thousands of pounds, reviving and then keeping the centre open.

She said “I am just an ordinary person, who lives in a semi, who has been doing something that I enjoy.

“But it is nice that ordinary people do get recognised.”

The British Empire Medal was reinstated as a civil award in 2012 after the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.