Medals honour for Doncaster community champions

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Their fantastic community spirit has seen two Doncaster residents recognised in a special way.

John Marsden and Esther Mathews have been honoured with British Empire Medals for their outstanding contribution to the community.

The proud recipients were presented with their medals by HM Lord-Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, Andrew J Coombe, on behalf of HM The Queen at an Investiture Ceremony at the Mansion House.

This ceremony was opened by the Civic Mayor of Doncaster, Councillor George Derx, and attended by up to 12 of each of the two recipients’ friends and family.

A founder member of the Tickhill Together group of volunteers, and organist at St Mary’s Parish Church for 35 years, Mr Marsden, 69, works tirelessly within his local community organising numerous events promoting the town as well as raising thousands of pounds for various charities.

Tickhill Together works to promote Tickhill and all it has to offer.

Events to benefit the local community, such as music and scarecrow festivals are run each year and the group is responsible for the Christmas trees and lights for the village.

He is a former headteacher at Finningley Church of England School, and ran a choir at Fishlake.

Esther Matthews was the founder of the Green Star Canoe Club in Doncaster 25 years ago. Today it has grown to be one of the largest and most active canoe clubs in the country.

It is one of the largest slalom clubs nationally, supporting polo teams in a number of regional and national divisions, and plays a large part in training, coaching and skills development in the Yorkshire and Northern Regions.

The club works to get as many people as possible, of all ages and abilities, enjoying the sport and recreation of canoeing. Those who wish to develop their skills further have the opportunity to do so, and to compete on various levels.

Through the winter, the club trains at Maltby Swimming Pool with regular sessions for one to one coaching for beginners to advanced, slalom and polo training. Its summer base is Hatfield Water Park, with sessions at Holme Pierrepoint.

Civic Mayor, Coun George Derx, said: “It is a great honour that is bestowed on John and Esther but one that is thoroughly deserved.

“They give up their time freely, and hundreds, if not thousands of people, have benefitted from the work that they do.

“I am therefore very proud to have been at the event, along with their family and friends, to be part of these celebrations.

“My congratulations to both John and Esther.”