New Year's Honours: Sheffield mum-of-two recognised for services to Girlguiding
A mum-of-two from Sheffield who is a familiar face to many withinÂ GirlguidingÂ is celebrating after finding out she has made the New Year's Honours list.Â
Helen Clarke, aged 48, of Walkley, has been awarded an MBE for services to Girlguiding having being involved with the community for over four decades.
Joining Brownies as a seven-year-old, she moved to Guides then Rangers before leaving her hometown of Oxfordshire to study at the University of Sheffield.Â
It was in Sheffield that Helen longed to get back intoÂ Girlguiding, so in 1991 she found a nearby groupÂ and a year later gained her leadership qualification.Â
Taking a few years out, she returned in 1994 and has volunteered her time working with girls in Sheffield and the wider region of north-east of England ever since.Â
As one of the youngest ever members to receive the Girlguiding Laurel for Exceptional Service in 2015, she has continued to inspire others both in Sheffield and particularly in international guiding.Â
Helen has worked with more thanÂ 5,000 girls and young women both at home in SheffieldÂ and abroad to help them develop skills and give back to the community that gave her so much as a child.Â
Determined to give all girls an equal opportunity, she has played a vital role in reintroducing guiding in Western Siberia.
Whilst thereÂ her expert knowledge, impressive fundraising activities, development of bespoke training material and subsequent regular exchange visits of girl guides between Russia and the UK have ensured that guiding is now firmly embedded in that region.Â
She saidÂ that being involved with Girlguiding has given her '˜amazing' experiences and has enabled her to travel the world, visiting much of Europe, Mexico and Namibia.
A civil servant by day, and a busy mum-of-two, sheÂ hasÂ served as a unit leader and county international advisor and chair of Guiding development, including organising leader training and supporting volunteers in achieving leadership qualifications.Â
Helen has also been instrumental in introducing music to the lives of citizens and guides alike, acting as musical director for Big County Productions.
As such, her legacy over the last five years has been a series of carol concerts, held at York Minster with more than 2,000 attendees.
Speaking after receiving the honour, Helen said: 'I'm really thrilled and excited to be awarded the MBE.
'I feel very lucky that someone made the effort to nominate me.
'I feel I am accepting it on behalf of the other volunteers and its great for Girlguiding to be represented.
'It's exciting and I'm thankful to have a fantastic husband who has supported me in everything I do.'