A keen gardener with more than two decades worth of volunteering under her belt has been awarded a special Queen’s honour.

Marion Billham, of Brundall, based between Norwich and Great Yarmouth, has been selflessly putting in the hours at Age UK Norfolk.

The 80-year-old has served with its Money Matters team for 22 years – a job she says she “enjoys enormously.”

Eastern Daily Press: The bills arriving and they mount up in this age when owing money is not seen as the stigma it once was, says Sharon Griffiths.The bills arriving and they mount up in this age when owing money is not seen as the stigma it once was, says Sharon Griffiths. (Image: Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2008)

“Most certainly it is very rewarding, and you meet some lovely people who really appreciate your help,” she added.

“I get a great buzz in being able to solve their problems for them.”

A former insurance underwriter with Eagle Star for almost 40 years, she had personal experience managing finances following her father’s death.

The grandmother took redundancy in her 50s and after spotting an advertisement asking for Age UK Norfolk volunteers. She has never looked back.

Mrs Billham is now the recipient of a Platinum Champion Award, recognising the efforts of unsung heroes. She was one of 490 champions nominated and she received her award from the Duchess of Cornwall at a jubilee lunch.

She said: “It is a great honour for me to accept this award, which I do, not just for myself but on behalf of all Age UK Norfolk volunteers who work so hard for the benefit of older people.

"Age UK Norfolk does a tremendous amount of good work in many different ways and Money Matters is just a part of that.

“At present, we have a total of 248 volunteers so this award is for all of them who willingly give up their free time to help others.”

Head of operations, Vicky Aitken, added: “We’re delighted that Marion has received this recognition for her long-standing voluntary service to Age UK Norfolk and the older people that she supports.

“It’s because of people like Marion kindly donating their time and skills that we are able to help as many older people in Norfolk that we do.

“The whole team at Age Norfolk congratulates Marion on this wonderful accomplishment and we would like to extend our thanks to all of our volunteers, who are making our work possible.”

To find out more about volunteering for Age UK Norfolk visit www.ageuknorfolk.org.uk, contact the volunteer coordinator on 01603 785 210, or email volunteering@ageuknorfolk.org.uk