Retiree who runs medical transport scheme for older people to be awarded British Empire Medal

Daphne Potter, who has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2

Daphne Potter, who has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2019 for services to the older people, and her husband Hugh Potter. Picture: Bob Hobbs - Credit: Bob Hobbs

A Brancaster woman who oversees a community transport lifeline for older people to get to medical appointments will be awarded a British Empire Medal.

Daphne Potter, 80, has been named in the Queen's New Year's Honours List 2019 for services to the older people in Norfolk.

Taking on the role of coordinator of the Burnham Market Area Community Car Scheme as a retirement job when she was 66, Mrs Potter is still organising its dedicated team of volunteer drivers to take passengers for medically-related appointments.

She said: 'I wasn't part of the scheme that set it up but I had just retired and I thought I needed something to do when my husband saw an advert in the local parish news. I said I would ring to find out more and his words were 'you won't get it, you're too old'. That was 14 years ago and I'm still doing it.'

The scheme, which covers an area from Wells-next-the-Sea to Old Hunstanton and about 20 miles inland, offers transport for people to get to medical appointments as well as the collection and delivery of prescriptions.

We pick people up at the door, we take care of them, the drivers will if necessary go into consultations with them, make sure they are okay when they taken them home that they are in the house and everything is fine,' explained Mrs Potter.

'It is a very rural area and the scheme started when doctors at Burnham Market said if they could get patients to them, rather than do visits, they could see far more people. So all our journeys are medically related and it is a lifeline for people.'

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Mrs Potter said the honour, which only her husband Hugh has known about up until now, is recognition for the whole team behind the scheme.

'I have wonderful volunteer drivers and this honour is really is a team thing because I couldn't do it without them and the committee at the back of me,' she said.

'I was asked some time ago by one of our doctors if I was ever to get an award was I prepared for them to send information in. But I honestly thought it would never come to anything.

'Then I got a letter some time ago in the strictest confidence and I couldn't believe it. I was taken aback a bit. I thought 'gosh I hope I'm worthy of this'.'